April 28th   Leave a comment

I was out again at Cambo first thing this morning guiding a bird song walk. A beautiful sunny morning but still freezing with the bitter north-easterly wind when we came out of the woods. There were a lot of blackcaps singing this morning along with the usual resident birds of Cambo. A couple of chiff-chaffs and a few swallows being the only other summer migrants. The initially early season is now turning into a late season. There is still no sign of the whitethroats and sedge warblers that should have arrived at the start of this week.

This afternoon there was a long-eared owl at Fife Ness Muir. I spent a frustrating half an hour of glimpses of it as it shyly moved away between the dense pines before my son flushed it directly towards where I was sitting. It perched a few meters away from me and I had the best view I have had of a long-eared owl for years. Long-eared owls, unlike their very similar cousins short-eared owls, are strictly nocturnal and much more wary. But this time I was able to look straight into its bright orange eyes and admire its “ears” held up like a crest. I am always telling my son to be quieter when we are out in the field. Today I was glad of his noisy feet.

The owl is another migrant on its way to Scandinavia like the ring ouzels of yesterday. A white-fronted goose also passed by going north. Normally this would be the bird of the day but this winter was so good for geese that it was almost expected. Apart from this there was little else. The ringers in the patch were looking fairly miserable as they gazed at their empty nets. I was smiling. The long-eared owl is my first for Crail bringing my Crail list up to 204 species.

Long-eared owl - with its glowing orange eyes even if its "ears" are tucked away

Posted April 28, 2012 by wildcrail in Sightings

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