Sunday, 13 January 2013

Fantastic Four

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.

 Short-eared owl © Adrian George

 Long-eared owl © Adrian George

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