Short-eared owl

Tues 19th June 2012

The month of June is marching on and I’ve been working hard to finish my new DVD.  It should be ready by next week and I’ll get it on the website as soon as I can. It’s all about what’s been going on on our land, especially with the wildlife. So many people ask me about it that it seemed a good idea to make a film so you can see for yourselves. It will be called ‘This Is Our Land’ and is about an hour and fifty minutes long. I started making it back in December so it shows how things change with the seasons. I hope you’ll like it.

It’s been another good week for spotting birds. Most of them have nested now and everywhere you look there are parent birds out and about collecting food for the youngsters. A few days ago I went up on the moor and saw lots of skylarks, certainly a good many more than last year. There are also a good number more stonechats about this year.

The best bird I saw up there was a short-eared owl. I’ve never seen one flying before. It was very low to the ground. I so wanted to get a good picture and spent a lot of time trying. In the end I got three shots but it took me three days. I’ve told you before how important it is to have patience and for me it paid off yet again. I’m so pleased with the pictures. On the third day I saw two owls. I think they must have been a pair, although I could be wrong. I understand that the short-eared owl nests on the ground on the moors up in the north of the country so I guess it must do the same down here in the south west but I don’t know for sure.

Another thrill for me was seeing three cuckoos. They are very difficult birds to spot so I was lucky. Then a trip up to the highest part of Exmoor rewarded me with the sight of seven hares. They are such beautiful and interesting animals and I always love to see them. If you want to go looking for some yourself, the best time is just before dark, which is when I like to go out, or around about dawn.

These are good times to spot badgers as well. Mind you, if you put food down for the badgers they will also come out in the daylight once they get used to you. If you feed them regularly and gain their trust, they may well bring their cubs along. Now that is something special to see. So why not get out and see what you can spot? Good luck all you lovely people.