The sight of a Short-Eared Owl hunting over the salt marshes on a cold winter afternoon is something I look forward to each winter, some years you see them, others you don't.
This seasons arrival is well in progress,with many S.E.Owls being reported from many of the usual sites around Kent .
After last weeks disappointing 'no show' at Rainham RSPB, for me anyway, I thought I would try my luck again, this time on the Isle of Sheppey.
I had a small window of opportunity, a free couple of hours for a late afternoon visit. I decided to visit Capel Fleet and check out the rough pastures alongside the road that runs through Harty Marshes, plenty of pull-ins where you can park up and watch the Owls if they decide to show up.
Due to a few traffic holdups I arrived quite late in the day with just about an hour of daylight left.
I could see a team of beaters waving there red flags, and dogs dashing around in the fields flushing out the game birds towards the shooters, I always think its ironic really when I see the roadside signs asking you to drive slowly and be aware of the wildlife, I suppose its so they have more birds to blast out the sky.
I was beginning to think there may be too much disturbance for the Owls.
|Red -Legged Partridge|
Driving down Capel Hill towards Harty marshes I could see my first S.E.Owl hunting next to the road in the distance, but it soon drifted across the marshes and out of sight, but a good start.
I drove to the end of the road for a quick look out across the Swale and returned back to Capel Fleet.
where I parked up, near the Raptor viewpoint and waited for the sun to go down.
It wasn't long before another Short-eared Owl put in an appearance closely followed by a second, the light was disappearing fast now, but I could still watch them quartering the pasture, they didn't seem to happy when there paths crossed, and a passing Marsh Harrier also felt there wrath.
I managed a couple of photographs which had to be lightened up slightly. not the best photos hopefully I will get another chance before the winter passes.
|Last rays of sunshine|
A short but productive visit