Yesterday afternoon I went to Prestwick Carr with SH to look for the Short Eared Owls which have been there for the last month or so.
I always enjoy watching SEOs but I have only seen them at West Hartford and usually I don’t get good views. There was a group of birders scanning a marshy field next to the bumpy track, so we went over. It was getting dark as we waited, 2 Buzzards and 2 Kestrels were flying around the field and 70 Fieldfare went overhead. The occasional Snipe could also be heard going over.
Birds were coming into roost all the time including a good number of Woodpigeon which settled in the tree tops. A flock of 11 Long Tailed Tit passed through the hedges behind followed by a flock of Great Tit then Blue.
Soon after, the first Short Eared appeared at the far side of the field. It was soon joined by another and there pair began hunting over the marsh. As both birds dived down another appeared and it wasn’t long until and aerial battle broke out.
We could hear the owls screeching at each other occasionally before flying towards each other and tussling with their feet.
One of the owls landed in the top of a tree in the field and the other two came gradually closer and began hunting over the area behind the Goat field.
Another of the owl landed on something on the edge of a flood pool in front of us. It had its back to us but through bins we got very close views. It was ripping something to pieces and eating it although we never found out what. It occasionally turned around and stared at us, its yellow eyes looking directly at me at one point. It stayed on the ground foraround 5 minutes before joinging the others hunting over the field. By this time another SEO had joined the three.
As we were leaving one of the birds flew behind where it began hunting on the other side of the bumpy track.