Tuesday, 6 March 2012

5th March 2012, A sunny lunch and an early finish

Mondays now see me finished at work at 2.30 and with the lighter days a chance to get out for a while.

As I took an early lunch I noticed a lovely robin chirping merrily by the side of the car, with a walk planned for later the camera was fortunately close by.

Rather a fine accompiment for lunch!

My first call was at Elslack Forest, not too far from my workplace and home to crossbills. There are not a lot of these birds in the forest and as they flit around in the treetops they can be hard to spot.
On my way into the depths of the woods I spotted a distant kestrel hunting, too far away for crystal clear photo's but not too bad.

The way these birds can make tiny adjustments to their wing and feather arrangments to maintain their position in strong winds will never cease to amaze me!

Some sounds of birdsong emanated from the trees but the crossbills were elusive, a lovely view of a distant Ingleborough opened up through the trees though.

I took a few shots of what I thought were male chaffinches in the treetops, closer examination on the computer revealed crossbills! They were into the sun though, badly defined and not worth presentation.

Time for my next location now and hopefully some short eared owls! Before leaving the car I added some windproof overtrousers and two extra fleeces, wooly hat and gloves to my garb, a sunny day in March it may be but 1100ft asl on the moors and sitting motionless in the cover of a wall it will feel pretty cold!

Not much to see to start with, a large flock of black headed gulls were heading back to their roosts by the moorland reservoirs and a few corvids were active.

The moon was clearly visible and quite beautiful in the blue sky.

In the other direction the sun was beginning to set, Pendle Hill visible in the centre is a fine sunset viewpoint.
Back to concentrating on wildlife now and I scoured the moorland through my binoculars, what I first took to be a pair of corvids revealed one of them was flying a little differently! The sun shone on the feathers and a short eared owl was recognised, it was flying quite high sometimes they skim and hover close to the ground. Swiftly it disappeared over the edge of a ridge, I had to make a decision now whether to sit my ground or try to follow. Calculating that the useful daylight was only fifteen minutes or so, and less if I dropped over the ridge, I stayed at my cold and desolate sentry post.

Working hard with the binoculars, scouring the edge of the ridge for a re-appearance I was eventually rewarded...flying fast though and very hard to photograph I got several superb sights as the sun lit up the beautiful feathers of the owl.

Just enough time to get back to the car now after a very satisfactory afternoon, the sunset was lighting up the sky and I could not resist a stop during the drive home to capture it.


  1. Hi Dave, it must be cold sitting around in the biting wind but worth it for those wonderful sightings and photos of the owl

  2. Hi Dave, What a grand way to use your spare time on a Monday afternoon. Great shots of the robin and the owl as well as the long distance views. Since I've been following your blog it's made me more aware of wildlife on our walks and on Monday I spotted my first Great Crested Grebe (help of RSPB bird identifier)

  3. Wonderful to see the Short eared owl Dave :o) There are some at Rutland Water at the moment, I really should try to go for a look

  4. Ejoying theblog Dave, some cracking shots there, hope the knees are holding up well!