All’s well that ends well

After a very early start on Friday to do a breeding bird survey before work, we had a late start and an afternoon visit to Woods Mill yesterday.

The transect was more interesting for migrants than breeders, with a total of 11 Spotted Flycatchers seen (including the walks to and from home).  Compared with my highest total of spring Spotties of 3 in May 2019, that’s remarkable.  We had a couple of Whinchats and our first Swifts of the year too.

Woods Mill was rubbish: no Turtle Doves, hardly any Nightingale action and not much else, other than a mass of Beautiful Demoiselles.  We saw a Cuckoo on the way, and also had a Banded Demoiselle, but it was a big disappointment.  The walk back was going to end up in the dark, so we had some hopes for owls: we needed something to make 24 miles hauling a 2 stone rucksack worthwhile.  It paid off: we had a Barn Owl hunting on Bramber Brooks before a stop off in The Castle in Bramber for a beer (purely to make sure it got dark enough, you understand: the beer was a necessary evil).  On the way back we had two other species of owl (including Tawny chicks), and a couple of badgers.  A good end to an average day.

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Spotted Flycatcher
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Beautiful Demoiselle
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Orange Tip roosting on Cow Parsley.
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Did the underwing evolve for roosting on Cow Parsley?
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With backlighting the orange tip shines through.
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The problem with Barn Owls is that they come out to hunt when it's too dark for a decent photo.
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Who are you looking at?