I had heard of 3 short-eared owls at a local country park. I gained permission to ring on the land and yesterday I set out to try and trap some of them. I knew the birds hunted in the late afternoon so I arrived on site at 1330 and started to set up nets in a rough grass field where I had been told they prefer to hunt. As I set up the first line of nets the short-eared owls were already hunting. I moved to the other side of the field to set the second line of nets and watched one owl fly over the net at least half a dozen times. Eventually one did make it into the net. It went quiet from 1530 and as dusk fell I was hoping they would continue hunting or other owls such as long-eared, tawny or barn owl may hunt the same field. I didn't have to wait long. The first net check after dark produced a long-eared owl and then a second long-eared in the second line of nets. Bingo! I went to take down the nets only to find another long-eared. All the long eared owls were adult females so presumably there is a single sex communal roost in the local mixed plantation.
On Saturday members of the Whitburn Ringing Group and the Coastal Conservation Group joined forces to undertake some habitat management on the Big Mound and to erect a new feeding station in the Nature Reserve. The feeding station was located near to the stone wall hide and compliments the two new pools which were dug in 2012. Below are some photos of the team and their efforts.