Dee Estuary Owls steal the day
The weather forecast was awful for today but that didn't put us off setting for our "Day on the Dee" and we had a great day! The rain was nowhere as bad as the forecast and the birds put on a great show as always.
Flooded stubble fields gave us great views of 15 Ruff and Black tailed Godwits feeding with hundreds of Lapwings. Lesser black backed Gulls were with Common and Black headed Gulls as Fieldfares and Redwings flew low overhead. A Buzzard sat and watched everything from a nearby fence post.
The nearby marsh was alive with birds, flocks of Starling swirrled over as packs of Wigeon fed amongst more Lapwings. Four magnificent Whooper Swans swept in and landed, giving us brilliant views. Then the air was full of birds as a Peregrine Falcon tore across the marsh scattering all before it! Wow!
RSPB Burton Mere Wetlands was warm and welcoming on a damp cold day, lots of birds were on the lagoon in front of the main hide. Black tailed Godwits were feeding in the shallows, Shoveler, Wigeon and Teal all showed off. Four Pink footed Geese were picked out amongst the Grey lag and Canada Geese. Little Grebes showed off just below us and a Nuthatch joined the commoner birds on the feeders.
Further north along the estuary and we had an amazing encounter with a Kesterl. This lovely raptor hovered close to us, giving great views, then dived into the grass just a few feet away! The falcon came up with a vole in its talons and incredibly landed on a log not far away, and in full view, where it ate the vole as we looked on!
Common Snipe gave good views preening in the grass, then a ring tailed Hen Harrier was seen drifting over the marsh and allowed prolonged views of the super bird of prey. Little Egrets were all over the marsh and kept popping up and then dropping back out of sight in the creeks. Then one of the real stars of the day appeaered, a Short eared Owl floated over the marsh like a giant butterfly, what a fantastic bird! The owl went back and forth over the marsh allowing us to study every detail of its beautiful plumage.
After a lovely hot lunch in the pub, overlooking the marshes, we were back out and seeing more birds. At RSPB Inner Marsh farm masses of birds, mostly Teal and Lapwing fed on the shallow pool close to the hide. Two Whooper Swans were on the Border Pool. Plenty of Redwings here and we addded Goldcrest, Treecreeper and Linnet to our growing day list.
Back overlooking the open marsh we had great views of a Sparrowhawk and more Kestrels along with Little Egrets, Raven, Grey Herons and a stunning male Stonechat that we enjoyed lovely views of this little gem.
But the best was still to come, as we scanned the marsh not one but two Short eared Owls appeared and put on an amazing show for us! First coming together in an flight fight then one bird landing on a fence post, giving brilliant views, as the second made repeated hunting flights over the marsh, just magic!
A great day and we really enjoyed the company of Chloe and Jeremy and hope we can go birding with them again soon.
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