Yesterday morning dawned bright, crisp and clear……i watched the sun come up at 8.19am over the big lake at Thurlby…it was so still and quiet, a magical sunrise………how i long for those 4am starts in June!
There was the usual assortment of waterfowl: Mute Swans, Greylags, Heron, Coots, Moorhens, Widgeon, Teal, Mallard, Garganey,Tufted, Goldeneye, Shoveler and Pochard, a nice start to the day.
This really is such a vast water that I’m sure that if watched more, especially during colder periods, that it could turn up almost anything. I know in winters past there have been up to 25,000 assorted gulls roosting there. At the moment there are probably one to two thousand.
With the weather set fair and the light looking promising i decided to drive down to Hawthorpe again to see if i could have better luck with the SEOs.
I arrived about 1.30pm and parked on the S bends. The Fallow deer herd was browsing at about 300 metres, one stag having a fine set of antlers. I started scanning and picked up a Red Kite towards the west but distant, after another 20 minutes or so i noticed movement along the dyke between the rape field and the rough grassland. Picking up the binoculars i focused on a rather dark SEO, my first this winter….yippee! I moved the car a bit closer and watched it quartering the fields, seemingly hardly moving but covering a lot of ground. They always seem to have have many unproductive dives into the grass and this one was no exception. Then out of nowhere the Red Kite appeared and the two become locked in an arial battle, screeching and tumbling about they came right over the road providing some directly overhead shots..great stuff.
They soon parted and the Kite disappeared, the Shortie continued hunting and moved up towards the sheep field settling for several minutes on a sheep fencing post. Quite clever to balance on such a small piece of plastic. It then moved over the road and had a squabble with a Kestrel before putting up another SEO. These two had one coming together which was too distant to photograph and then carried on hunting, i watched them for about 45 mins and they were generally distant.
A couple of Ravens cronked over to round off a very pleasant afternoon.