Saturday, January 03, 2015

Return visit to Gloucestershire (what a day !!)

Having enjoyed our previous visit to Hawling for the Short-eared Owls myself and fellow "togger" Richard "Smudger" Smith decided to make a return visit yesterday with the weather bright and sunny.
We should have been joined by Cliff Woodhead but he phoned me early advising that he was still not feeling too good, what a day he missed !!
We left Richard's at 9.30am and rocked up at Pittville Park in Cheltenham at about 11.00am hoping to catch up with the male Dartford Warbler which has made the place it's home with a pair of Stonechats in an area of setaside in recent weeks.
There were already about a dozen "toggers"/birders there and we joined them to get some reasonable views of the bird and I was quite pleased with some of the images that I came away with.........

It was surprising how much time we had to put in to get clear views of this handsome bird as focusing was a nightmare with all the wispy weeds and grasses blowing in the breeze and a couple of hours passed very quickly.
We left Cheltenham at about 1.30pm heading for Hawling which was only about 10 miles away which saw us rock up there at just before 2.00pm.
We enjoyed a late picnic lunch and no sooner had we finished when one of the resident Barn Owls started hunting at the far end of the two setaside fields near the copse.
We headed that way but had no luck with any meaningful photos and returned to our favoured watching spot where just one "Shortie" started to hunt but was always distant.
After a while an owl appeared on the drystone walls between the two fields which was the Barn Owl which had shown earlier, it took off and flew straight in front of us enabling both Richard and myself to get some pleasing shots........

Because of the stiff breeze the "Shorties" did not show as they had done on our previous visit but just as we were packing our gear away after the light had gone at 4.00pm four birds came out to hunt, it was too late then for any photography but we enjoyed superb close views as did a passing mountain biker who although loacal didn't know about the owls and borrowing my bins for 5 minutes was absolutely "blown away" by the sight, "must come back with my young son to see these" was his parting remark, says it all really !!
What a crackin' day out.

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