Papercourt Meadows Short-eared Owls

After the reasonable success at Papercourt in recent weekends, we visited the meadows again to see if we could get a proper look at the wonderful Short-eared Owls that call the reserve home. And I can say that we definitely did.

We arrived at the meadows at about 3 o'clock in the afternoon, earlier than usual. As we were a bit early, we decided to walk down the canal before returning to the main area later. But just as we turned down the path, I spotted a bird flying high over the meadows; above the wires. It was immediately clear by the body shape and the way it was flying that it was a Short-eared Owl! So we abandoned our canal-side walk and headed straight for the open meadows to get a closer look.

The owl began to fly lower when we reached the open ground, before landing near the base of a pylon over the other side of the meadow. We decided to try and get closer. After a lot of creeping and photographing, I got close enough to get a few very clear photos of the owl. Short-eared Owls are among my favourite birds - I never tire of watching them hunt as they swoop low over the tall grasses, almost like a phantom. To see one in such detail was a real treat.

The bird eventually flew off, which amazingly drew a second individual out of a nearby tree. They both flew around the reserve for a bit, before moving over the back.
We watched the owls hunting over the meadows and fields behind for the next hour or so. It was magical watching the two owls flying low over the tall grasses and bushes, manoeuvring themselves around to expertly fall onto their prey.

These birds have yet again treated us to brilliant views at Papercourt Meadows, and I hope they continue to do so for years to come. 


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