This is the last post from my trip to Rainham Marshes, and as I promised in the last one, here are a selection of the best short eared owl shots from that day. The shorties are winter visitors to the UK from Scandinavia so the east coast is a good place to look for them, and it was a wonderful way to spend a couple of hours, as numerous owls were flying past at very close range, making it pretty easy to get some good pictures as they quartered the reedbeds and the beach:
These are my favourite images from that trip to the marshes of estuary Essex and it was a tremendous way to spend a day, all rounded off with the best display of owls owls I’ve ever seen. Hope you like them too! And as this is my first post of 2017, a belated happy new year to you all too
The terrain at Rainham Marshes is fairly varied with beach, river, lakes, reedbeds, scrub and grassland amidst the industrial conurbation of the Thames Estuary. And with varied terrain comes varied birdlife including wader, ducks, birds of prey and passerines:
A lone black tailed godwit (Limosa limosa, Dansk: stor kobber-sneppe) amongst a group of teal (Anas crecca, Dansk: krikand) at the lakeside with reedbeds in the background
As well as godwit a small flock of lapwing (Vanellus vanellus, Dansk: vibe) would occasionally lift of the ground as an alarm was raised over some perceived threat, circle around for a minute or two before returning to where they were flushed from. I’ve seen that kind of behaviour before in response to the sighting of a predator such as a peregrine falcon, but I didn’t see any predators of that ilk so maybe an unseen ground predator such as a fox was in the vicinity.
And across another section of reedbed was the raised Eurostar train track and a transport depot full of trucks just beyond
And I love this image of another stonechat craning from the top of a bulrush to keep a wary eye on what we were up to:
We had heard a report that at the far end of the reserve toward the landfill hill there were short eared owls in the area, and later on in the afternoon we decided to wander down that way to see if we could find them. And it didn’t take long…
Short eared owl (Asio flammeus, Dansk: mosehornugle) patrolling the reedbeds
And that heralded the start of probably the best display of owl activity of any species that I’ve ever seen. And I’ll post some more shorty pictures next time. But isn’t this guy a beauty?!
Posted in Birds, Birds of prey, Ducks, Lakes and rivers, Ornithology, Owls, Rainham Marshes, reedbed, UK wildlife, Waders, water birds
Tagged Anas crecca, Asio flammeus, black tailed godwit, ducks, Essex, Limosa limosa, Rainham Marshes, Saxicola rubicola, short eared owl, stonechat, teal, Thames estuary, waders