Dunsby Fen 28/12/13

Steve Godson and I decided to go out for the afternoon yesterday with the initial plan being to go to Stainby to see what Red Kites were about and the move onto to either Hawthorpe or Dunsby Fen to see what Short Eared Owls we could meet up with.

On the way from my home we decided to miss out Stainby and go to Hawthorpe first, this was mainly so I could show Steve the area where all the action takes place as he went before with his wife on a recce mission and was not sure of the exact area.

Once at Hawthorpe and parked up we were facing 109 deer (Fallows?) on the edge of Temple Wood with little else around, well it was about 1.15pm so we were a little early! We hung around a bit and then thought OK Dunsby next it is then as it is only about 15 minutes away from Hawthorpe.

Steve had previously spoken to a gent in his car on his last visit to Dunsby a few days earlier who was in a spot waiting for Hen Harrier to arrive at, the Harrier is supposed to be seen regularly hunting at the spot at the opposite end of the straight lane leading to French’s Farm, he was there with his wife and in Steve’s words “it all kicked off!’ with 2/3 SEO’s, a Hen Harrier (female or Juvenile) being mobbed by Corvids and 2 Barn Owls plus many Kestrels seen in the low light, too low for taking pics sadly.

So we drove up and down the lane at both ends seeing the odd Fieldfare a Kestrel and a Crow/Rook having an aerial battle and large groups of distant Corvids only.
DunsbyFfare281213 DunsbyFfare281213bDunsbyKes281213The Kestel and its foe rested a while in the ploughed field after their fight.

We drove back down the fen lane seeing a small mixed flock of Chaffinch and Tree Sparrows near French’s farm thinking we were out of luck, then while coasting slowly down the lane Steve spotted an SEO hunkered down in the field.
DunsbySEO281213

Then it got move interesting with the SEO Steve spotted taking flight and settling down further from the lane near a bank in the middle of the field we were parked opposite, (the photo below shows how hard it is to spot these birds in the vegetation they choose to live in, the photo has not been altered at all just cropped down a little, see if you can spot the SEO in the image!!) then almost immediately another SEO took flight and flew over the bank and out of our sight.
DunsbySEO281213b

At this time a group of 25 Wigeon (I think?) circled above us before flying east, then 2 noisy Grey heron flew from the direction of the derelict farm buildings  with one landing on the fen lane for a moment pics below…
DunsbyWigeon281213
DunsbyHeron281213After this 3 SEO’s were visible and active both low above the field and high in the sky after a little territorial battle with the bird finally going their own ways, Steve and I got our images at this time and surprisingly a 4th SEO took off from directly in front of us and headed away to our right and finally loosing sight of it as it headed above the French’s Farm property, we assumed this bird had already established its own feeding grounds at the other end of this long stretched out site.

Below are some of the better images I got in the quickly fading light and as Steve said to me in a Tweet later that day we were like ‘two kids in a sweet shop’, spot on mate we really enjoyed the experience didn’t we! 🙂
DunsbySEO281213c DunsbySEO281213d DunsbySEO281213e DunsbySEO281213f DunsbySEO281213g DunsbySEO281213h

Now I know I am always after the ‘perfect’ shot full of detail and true colour but sometimes the light that you think is against you adds to the images you take and the SEO pics above  are case in point really, the fading ‘orangey light’ adds to the mood of the shots, pleasing really hope you like too?