Stunning Surrey Sunset (+ an owl!)

January is usually the time of year when the Short-eared Owls return to Papercourt, so we decided to head back down to the meadows to see if they were back, and what else was around.

The heavy rain in Surrey over the past week has had an effect on the meadows; the river was much higher and there was water in certain areas on the meadow itself, though not on the scale of the flooding at the meadows a few years ago. The small amount of water present at the moment shouldn't have an effect on the prey animals of predators like the kestrels and owls at the meadows. 

The swollen river

As for wildlife, it didn't take long to see some movement. Our first sighting was a pair of Stonechats, hopping around from bush to bush. 

We continued on round towards the far end of the meadows, where we have seen the Short-eared Owls before. On the way round, we saw both the kestrels that call the meadows home, one on a wire and one on a tree.

Leaving the kestrels behind, we got ourselves into position underneath a tree by the river to wait and see if the owl would come out. As we waited, the sun came out from behind the dark cloud for 15 or so minutes before it dipped below the horizon, and cast a beautiful, golden light over the meadows.

a passing swan 
The golden glow over the meadow

The sun went down a treat, and we were joined in our wait by a small flock of birds on a nearby tree, which we have yet to identify! (we think Redpoll). If you can help, please leave a comment!

As the sun set, it got much colder very quickly. By the time the light was going, we decided to head back towards the bridge and the car park, where there were a few others standing with scopes and binoculars. When we got there, we were told that they had in fact been watching a Short-eared Owl flying around right in front of them. We had been down the complete wrong end of the meadows! But, luckily for us, the owl came back and flew around for a few minutes in the gloom, giving us our first views of the bird since this time last year. Hopefully, we'll get some more good views of this beautiful bird before they leave the meadows again later in the year.


Popular posts from this blog

Conservation: Costa Rica Leading By Example after Deforestation Report

Extremadura: Raptors

Bird Ringing in Surrey