18th April 2011 – Showy Owl

Well the last day of my ‘long’ weekend today, and I managed to resist the temptation to go to Bamburgh for the Black Scoter. Much as I love that stretch of the northeast coast I couldn’t justify the expense of going to see a species that I’d already seen before – back in ’99 off the North Wales coast. Even back then when it was a lifer for me the bird just didn’t get me excited, in fact I recall seeing a Terek Sand on the same day and the wader was without doubt ‘bird of the day’. So back to today and a short trip east to catch up with fresh arrivals like Pied Fly and Redstart. My first stop became preoccupied with an exceptionally showy Long-eared Owl which had chosen to roost right out in the open. It’s not often I get the chance to see this species, so to see one like this was a real bonus.

A singing Pied Fly was also seen in this area, but was far more shy than the owl and avoided my camera completely. Nuthatches were very vocal, and a cracking male Redstart was also seen but like the Pied Fly also refused to be photographed.

At the ‘Ring Ouzel site’ a gropper reeled but wasn’t seen – and surprise surprise I didn’t see any Ring Ouzels either! Back on the Solway a quick visit to the scrape at Campfield was pleasantly rewarded with a White Wagtail, several Blackwits and four Ruff.

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