Today I decided I’d go out to Swinemoor Common. Even though it’s only a ten minute walk from me I rarely ever visit this site. In the winter the fields of the common flood so it makes a great place to see waders, apparently. I only saw Redshank and lots of Lapwing out this afternoon! Although both made the year list, so not too bad. I always forget about Lapwings when I list or think about my favourite birds. I don’t know why as it really is a beautiful little bird. Its purple and green sheen, its black collar, its orange vent, its spiky crest and its distinctive call, magnificent! There was plenty of Rooks, Crows and Gulls out feeding on the common too. I decided to pay another visit to Figham on my way back as it was getting dark to see if the Barn Owl was about or even still alive. On my way down I managed to catch sight of a wagtail in the distance, as I got close I realised it wasn’t a pied as I had lazily assumed but a grey wagtail.
When I reached Figham the light was already rapidly fading, so I walked a couple of minutes up the river until I had a good vantage point of the owl’s hunting territory. I scanned across several times with no luck, so with little light left I decided to give up and try again another time. I walked back a little then decided to have another scan, I saw something moving along the grass it was white and quickly went down into the grass. Could it be the Barn Owl? The light was really poor at this point so trying to focus was hard, I studied the area for a bit longer and watched as it reappeared again. I’m pretty sure due to the colouring, flight and pouncing it was a Barn Owl, however due to the poor light and the bird seeming to not go much higher than the tops of the rushy grasses I couldn’t be 100% sure. I know that Short-eared owls have been seen before on Figham, however the wingspan was probably too short and I’ve read a lot about them being more diurnal. So hopefully it looks like the Barn Owl has survived the bad weather, although last time I saw them hunting there was a pair, tonight I could only make out one. Will have to check out again.
Year list now up to 32 without the owl.
I’m wanting to write more pieces like the ones on Starlings and Jeremy Kyle, however not had much inspiration. Hopefully I’ll think of something soon.