Friday, 12 March 2010

Whixall Moss - Shorties showing well

If you go down to the Moss today..... The big surprise is finding some birds! I had a wry smile when reading the following words of Clwyd birder 'Black Grouse' on 'searching for Cranes'!


......trying to track down a Crane at F/W Moss. No Crane and very little else to boot. The moss is notoriously home to few birds and yesterday it excelled itself even by its own low standards – there were more birders than birds!


One of the factors is of course antisocial behaviour and an ASBO should be (but wont be) slapped on these guys! The first 30 mins of my visit witnessed an audition for 'Apocalypse Now' with repeated low runs, stall turns and dives over the Moss - Natural England if you want some evidence of real bird disturbance at an SSSI- here it is! Maybe a notice stating helicoptors should be kept on a lead too.....






What a surprise then (to actually see some birds) after dropping Gemma off in Manchester, I had the last two hours of daylight free there! Yvonne had popped over as well with the Shorties in mind? There were a few accidentals (Woodcock x 4 no less, flying out from neaby coppices) plus two male Stonechats but no Shrike.

The highlight however was another display from the Short-eared Owls in the peace and tranquillity of late afternoon. Two were on view.

The first one (a dark bird) appeared at 5.00 precisely in the area at the end of the Furbers access track. After a couple of short flights it perched up for a short while.....






and again!






Then flew around, relatively close, well - within 200m!






Class, charisma, style - what is it about Short-eared Owls? Even though there's no prizewinners here, I could spend a lot of time watching and trying to capture images of these fantastic Winter visitors to the Moss....











The pale bird spent most of the time at the Moss Cottages end and this single shot was probably as near a pass it made....






Finally, with the light fading really fast - a crank up of the ISO to 2000, a bit of noise reduction resultiung in a worthwhile image of the dark bird flying towards me....






Before flying into the Sunset!






You know what? I might just go back another evening.....

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