Friday, 23 January 2015

Barn Owl watch - Day 3 22nd Jan 2015

Well for the third evening this week I was back at Amwell for the Barn Owl viewing.  Took my position in the White hide at about 3.00pm hoping for an early show though not really expecting one.  In front of the hide were some nice Teal displaying in small groups of about 6 or 7.  I counted about 14 males and only 3 or 4 females so competition was intense (as opposed to in tents!).  Plenty of head flicking and wing flapping, and some one to one unarmed combat.


On the scrape in front of the hide was a single Snipe in the grass, which did eventually come into clear view just outside the window.  A muntjac deer emerged from the grass to the left of the hide and fed in the open for the best part of half an hour.


I looked towards the river at the back of the lake and noticed someone walking along the bank with a cup of tea (I found out later this was one of the Amwell Magna bailiffs).  I looked him and he looked at me, I couldn't help thinking that his presence wasn't going to aid an early appearance of Barney.  I was joined by a lady I've seen before who had seen the Barn Owl the previous evening and she proceeded to noisily point out all the wildlife I'd already seen and photographed.

Barney appeared at about 4.20, I noticed him flying low along the reeds at the back of the lake, he turned and came round the willow tree and quartered the grass area several times, coming close to the hide before flying across the lake towards the James hide and hunting over the reeds there.  A few drops into the reeds and grass, a few flights around the area, anyone in the James hide or at the watchpoint had a super view as we'd had earlier from the White hide.  The light was fading fast, I gave up on the photos and watched through binoculars for a good 10 minutes - superb views!

As the light failed I decided to head home, hopeful of some half decent shots as Barney had come in quite close this evening - oh how disappointed I would be later!

As an addendum to the evening, I also dropped my bean bag over the side and had to look out to see it just laying there, cold and alone.  With luck I'll get it back Saturday if the HMWT Warden in the sky smiles upon the warden on the ground - Come on Darren!

Back again Saturday to collect my bean bag I hope, and try again on the Barney photos!

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