Owls Return To Papercourt

In the past couple of weeks, four species of owl have been recorded in Papercourt Meadows itself. I have seen two, and heard two of them myself, and it is great news that they are back.

The first species is the Short-Eared Owl. This owl had not been spotted at Papercourt for at least a year, until just after Christmas. The floods of last year drove them away, to where prey was more plentiful. It is clear at the moment that there is one individual on the meadows. We have been down three times, once on New Years' Eve, and twice in the new year, and we have seen one every time, and two of these sightings have been very good. Today, in fact, we went down, and were able to watch one hunting very close for 10 minutes. This magical owl is a pleasure to see, and watch, and it is fantastic news that it has returned to Papercourt Meadows after it's absence. Both pictures below were taken on the meadows.

Short-Eared Owl

Short-Eared Owl
 The second species at Papercourt is the Barn Owl. These owls have been present since we first visited, with multiple pairs living in and around Papercourt. In the floods last year, there number dropped dramatically though, possibly only leaving one individual, who hunted a few fields away. It is good to see that now they are back, with an estimated three or four individuals around Papercourt. They are usually spotted at around the same time as the Short-Eared Owls but they stay out much later, normally until it is completely dark, when they become like a ghost bird, hunting over the meadows. Again, it is great to see that they are flourishing again.

The Meadows at Sunset
The other two owl species have only been recorded through hearing them. These are the Tawny Owl, and the Little Owl. The Tawny Owls are often heard after dark on the meadows, and I hear them a lot. The Little Owls I have only heard once, where a pair were chatting over towards the back of the meadows. These two are rarely seen, in fact I am not sure if there have been any sightings at all on the meadows, so we certainly don't have any photos!

So if you would like to see Short-Eared Owls and Barn Owls hunting, Papercourt Meadows is the place to go!

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