Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Short-eared Owl

The weather forecast predicted a fine afternoon after a wet and cloudy morning so I grabbed the camera and went to Waltham Brooks. In the bag were 2 macro lenses and a ring flash, the intention to get close to some bugs, Well that plan went out of the window quite early on as there were plenty of birds about and few butterflies. Luckily I had thrown the 400mm lens into the car. First up was a Short-eared Owl, just by the footbridge he circled twice so I took 3 shots but I really wanted to get some Whitethroats so I let him go. There were Chiffchaffs everywhere, very distracting, and I still couldn't get to grips with a Whitethroat. After wasting another half an hour waiting for a Cetti's Warbler to come out of hiding I took a walk back to the car park just to regroup. There were several Blackcaps singing just in from the gate so I set up shop for those.

I heard a bark behind me and looked straight into the eyes of another SEO, this one was being bothered by Crows but I managed to get five shots in focus as he passed overhead. I swear the look on his face was pleading for someone to do something about those pesky Crows.



Anyway it was back to the Blackcaps, suddenly a female appeared and I started snapping, through the viewfinder I could see the composition was spoilt by a stem of grass, I waited for her to move, then it dawned on me that it was nest building material. I offered my apologies and withdrew immediately. There  is no fine line between getting a good shot and disturbing a bird - the bird comes first every time.

Madame Blackcap
Well the wettest drought on record continues, the River Arun was well over its normal bank and that was at tidal  low water. The footpath into the Brooks was well underwater too, so if you go, take your wellies.
River Arun above normal levels

Greatham Bridge

 Just as I got in the car to drive home I noticed a strange"bird" in one of the bushes next to the car park. I am not sure what species of rodent this is but he was really enjoying a diet of fresh willow shoots. Shame he didn't turn round and pose for the camera.

Unknown rodent- possibly a Bank Vole


  1. Great shots again Dave, would suggest that the rodent could be "Ratty" a water vole?

    1. Hi Mike - finally worked out how to reply from the blog - not sure but he was fairly small and shy.



    2. More likely Bank Vole ?

    3. Hi Mike
      yes I think you're right. Saw one at Warnham yesterday - hopping in and out of the area in front of the hide but light too poor for any real capture.