Dunsby Fen - on the lookout for Raptors

November 03, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

I decided to go out to Dunsby Fen for a couple of hours to see what raptors I could see with also the vain hope of being  to be able to report sighting a Short Eared Owl ;)

First bird see upon my arrival on the long lane leading up to French's Farm was a Kestrel posing on a telegraph pole so with my camera and bins already with my in my car I stopped and snapped away from the drivers seat. The bird then moved onto try to take some prey it had seen.

Driving along the lane loads of Lapwing, Corvids and Wood Pigeons were seen, then a second Kestrel then another! So at this point I started to tally up the Kes's just in case it got to a decent number. Birds were seen flying from telephone cable to treetops and soon I was up to 5 different Kestrels.

I stopped and tried to get a shot of a reasonably flew up Kes but it saw me and flew off! Guess I don't blame it really :)

The hedgerows were busy with feeding finch flocks and plenty of Blackbirds too.

I got past French's Farm travelling all the way up to the small brick barn Little Owls  can sometimes be seen (not this time) and had a low flypast of a very dark Buzzard it settled for a few moments on the barn roof.

The Buzzard then flew off towards the direction of French's Farm and then did a loop back over the fields, I got this shot with the moody clouds and light behind the bird.

I then settled down near the large trees where the birders usually congregate to watch the birds, this time I was all alone - cool! I sat in my car and then saw a male Marsh Harrier at first heading towards me then it turned right and headed exactly to the spot I had just left watching the Buzzard! The Harrier did not come close but this sighting alone made my journey worth it.

A Sparrowhawk flashed over me and the trees I was parked alongside so 4 raptor species seen, next an Owl maybe?

Then a low flying Cormorant of all things flew low and fast towards me, I managed this pleasing silhouette pic (image only cropped nothing else).

You can't see in the shot but the bird had  a large white patch on its chest so am assuming a juvenile?

A local birder came to the spot I was at and we had a good chat as we spotted a Barn Owl emerging from the barns close to French's Farm in the distance, great stuff! the bird soon came over the road and into the bottom end of the large field we were looking at, sadly the Barnie did not come close but we saw it dive a good few times in its attempts to catch its tea! This was at about 4.20pm and the light for taking photos was not the best, the image bellow if the best one of the Barn Owl obtained.

Ron - the other birder and I counted 18 Canadian Geese directly opposite us at some distance in the fields. These birds soon took off and I got again a nice image of the birds in silhouette.

So a total of 7 Kestrel's, 1 Sparrowhawk, 1 Marsh Harrier, 1 Common Buzzard  and 1 Barn Owl were seen and enjoyed, not too bad I reckon.

As I travelled back reminiscing on a good couple of hours at Dunsby I arrived home carrying the firm idea that I would be back soon, hopefully next time reporting my sightings of Short Eared Owls.


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