The call of the Bewick’s and the sight of the Barn Owl

17 Nov

OK… After yesterday’s trip to Big Waters and finding out subsequently that there had been a couple of bewick’s swans along with the whoopers I took a return trip today.

Viewing from the platform near the car park I couldn’t really make too much out as most of the swans were at the far end towards the hide although one pair looked to be separate from the main group and possibly a bit small but impossible to tell from that ranfe, so I walked along the footpath towards the far end to see if I could get better views.

I was surprised at how little life there was in the hedgerow as I walked along – a few blackbirds but nothing much else. When I got to the feeding station I stopped to check the action for a few minutes and watched a handful of tree sparrows vying with the great tits and chaffinches on the feeder, and a pair of reed buntings on the edge of the clearing.

Tree Sparrow

Viewing the lake from the top end was frustrating – I don’t have access to the hide (I’m guessing need to join the wildlife trust to get a key?) so I could view very little through the reeds. Lots of wigeon, teal and a few goldeneye, but most of the swans I could pick out were definitely whoopers.

Walking back along the boardwalk though I could hear a soft cooing coming from close by. I listened for a while – it sounded very like the gentle hooting that black swans make. Back at base I checked out some recordings of bewicks swans and whoopers and I’m pretty sure that these were bewicks… so I didn’t manage to see any but at least I heard them!

I’ll have another try tomorrow to get a visual record!

The highlight of my day though – on my return home, driving through Stannington Station – a beautiful ghostly barn owl drifting across the road – my first barn owl in 2 years.

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