14 May 2013

A Montagu's Harrier and a Possible 1st for Ireland a Tawny Owl all in One Day

Tawny Owl at Castle Ward

This morning I took the early ferry to Portaferry to go and see whether the Montagu's Harrier found by Keith Bennett was still at Lough Cowey. I parked the car and hopped over the gate and there it was off to my right. If only twitching was always that easy. The bird stayed for about a minute before flying out of sight. It wasn't until two hours later that it reappeared and then only for a few minutes.

Montagu's Harrier at Lough Cowey

Montagu's Harrier
Montagu's Harrier

Montagu's Harrier

While I was there I had a text  from David Thompson who is the National Trust's Property manager for Strangford Lough and South Down saying that he wanted a second opinion as he felt he had heard a Tawny Owl calling near the sunken garden and that other people had been wondering for the past few weeks what it was. I texted him back saying that I thought it would probably be Long-eared Owl from my past experiences with them on the Castle Ward Estate having lived on the estate for 12 years.

Any way this evening I took Pickle for a walk and dropped off Penny to do a run round the estate and meet me back at the sunken garden, while I looked for the bird. I heard it almost immediately I got there and tried to find the exact tree it was calling from. I was helped by three blackbirds, a Mistle Thrush and a song thrush all who were mobbing the bird deep in some bushes. I still couldn't see it when all of a sudden I looked at my level rather than in the tree tops and bingo there it was one beautiful Tawny Owl. My only hope is that it isn't an escape. I couldn't see any rings or jesses. I rang the World of Owls and they were not aware of any escapes. 


Owen said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Vineeta Yashswi said...

Nice shots...

Timothy Belmont said...

I spotted an owl on Darragh Island about six weeks ago.

I disturbed it in the lon grass when I was walking past.

It had brown plumage, I think, though I only saw it from behind!

BTW, Craig, Craig and Anna McCoy are leaving NI next month for a new position the the NT in Cumbria.