178 – Short Eared Owl
On our way back to Sheffield following our stay in Edinburgh for the New Year celebrations, Helen and I decided to spend a few days in our beloved Northumberland.
Today we visited Lindisfarne, one of our top photographic spots, both for the wonderful landscape possibilities, but also for the birds.
The causeway which joins Lindisfarne to the mainland is a natural haven for all manner of birds; Curlew, Little Egret, Redshank, Godwit, Turnstone, Eider Duck and gulls of all varieties are usually to be found there in good numbers. As the causeway floods every day, the mud is constantly being replenished with tasty invertebrates and other morsels which bring in the hungry birds.
Today, however, it was something rather different and altogether special which caused us to pull-up abruptly midway across the causeway; as we were driving along a Short Eared Owl suddenly swept low across the road right in front of us.
Grabbing our cameras, Helen and I spent the next twenty minutes or so watching not one, but a pair of SEOs swooping back and forth above the dunes doing mock food-passes just as we’ve seen with other birds of prey including Ospreys and Marsh Harriers. This was our first SEO sighting and it was fascinating to watch as the birds wheeled back and forth over the dunes.
After we’d eventually lost sight of the birds we carried on to the main car park on the island. We walked down to the bay area and photographed a number of other interesting birds including: Bar Tailed Godwit, Curlew, Oystercatcher and Ringed Plover. Whilst all of those birds were a treat to observe, it was the owls that were the definite stars of the day!