Friday, 29 July 2011

Little Owl renamed?

Sometimes you get that feeling that you should go and check a certain place because a bird is there waiting to be found. Very occasionally you are right, but most it leads to disappointment. Tonight was sort of in between. No rarity but a satisfactory encounter with a good bird.

When I arrived at the Restharrow Scrape hide the first thing I heard was a call I knew, but one I hadn't heard for about a year. An emphatic "chewit". Had I been in a tern colony I might have thought it was a Roseate Tern, but hear I recognised it as a Spotted Redshank. It is strange how two such dissimilar species sound so alike. Scanning round, in what was only just about light enough to be called twilight I watched a couple of Stock Doves. One was displaying, fanning it tail right out and sticking out it's chest. By the time I got my camera out they'd split up, but one came towards me and landed quite close by. To get any kind of shutter speed I had to set my camera to ISO 3200, and even then I was only on about 100th of a second.

The Spotted Redshank eventually came into view, and the very fine bill was immediately apparent. It was difficult to make the feather details in the poor light but I think it was probably a bird in first summer plumage, although I say this with little conviction.

It did have a fly round, calling loudly, but didn't land particularly close to the hide. I think it was looking for a quiet corner.

The reason for seeking a more tranquil spot has its roots in the arrival of the first batch of a dozen or so Greylags, soon to be joined by a similar number.

Four Little Ringed Plover were also in the area and were busily feeding on the rapidly expanding sandy edges.

One lone Dunlin was also feeding on the pools, sometimes in solitary fashion and sometimes alongside one or more of the plovers.

I cruised back towards Deal, along the Ancient Highway, hoping to bump into Barn Owl, but had no luck. As I went through the Royal Cinque Ports Golf course, I came a cross this Little Owl sitting on a telegraph pole.

I dropped down and sat on top of the warning notice. I couldn't help reflecting that, although it was larger than a golf ball, it certainly was almost round enough to be a ball, and it definitely could fly. Perhaps it was re-classifying itself?

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