Monday, 12 March 2012

The Raptor Bush

Monday 12th March 2012
At this time of year, a warm day is so often followed by a foggy morning.

It's time to introduce you to the raptor bush. It sits next to a small dyke and right next to the back road, a few hundred yards North of the Main Drain. As I drove along here today, a female Merlin was perched in its branches, allowing extremely close approach in the car, though it duly departed as I pointed the camera towards it.
This bush has held two Merlins, Hen Harrier, Kestrels, Buzzard and Short-eared Owl. So it's always worth a look.

Continuing further along the road, I pulled up at Coy Bridge to scan along the Main Drain, when I noticed a large bird sat not 20 yards away on the bank of the river. Before I could reach for the camera, it noted my attention and flapped off. A Short-eared Owl, the fifth of this winter. It hunted the dykes a couple of fields away, so I drove a hidden farm track to get closer, only for it to go straight back to where I had found it. To my surprise, another bird flew up to tackle it, and for a while two Short-eared Owls were interacting in the air, barking and grunting at each other. I desperately tried to get a piccie with my little camera, but this was the best I could muster. I couldn't find my glasses to see what was on the camera's screen!

As both birds departed in separate directions, I eventually left to return home, but as I approached the raptor bush, there was the Short-eared Owl, right next to the road. I quickly turned around and followed it in the car, with my camera held out the window and as far in front of the windscreen as I could reach. I got a nice sharp picture... of a bit of its wing, and another of the whole bird, but blurred and on a weird angle with part of the car's bonnet interrupting the picture. I got several photos of just the ditch, and a couple of really blurry ones! Luckily not much traffic uses the back road!

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