Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Burton Mere Wetlands

My local RSPB reserve is Burton Mere Wetlands, formerly known to long-time visitors as Inner Marsh Farm. It is a great place for wildlife (especially wetland birds) at any time of the year. But my recent visit was for a woodland bird, namely a Long-eared Owl that has taken to roosting in trees near the old Inner Marsh Farm Hide.
As usual with these birds, it was secreted deep in a dense tangle of trees and bushes and was therefore not easy to locate. It was a bit like viewing one of those 3-D images that were popular a while ago; it was necessary to stare into the centre of the maze of twigs and branches and suddenly the image of the owl would come into focus, motionless and superbly camouflaged. Naturally photography was a challenge in these conditions, but I managed a "record" shot.
I left this popular bird to the small crowd of admirers and returned to the visitor centre via the old fishing pools that occasionally hold Kingfisher, but my luck wasn't holding. Although I did see what I thought was an early sign of Spring as a Coot dragged a long piece of vegetation across one of the pools. Ah, I thought, it was starting to nest-build; but I was wrong, the bird stopped in the middle of the lake and proceeded to shake and cut the greenery into small easily-swallowed pieces. It was having an afternoon snack!
I stopped by the bird feeders to photograph a female Great Spotted Woodpecker. It was here that I saw a cheeky Brown Rat making the most of some spilt seed. A surprising end to a short sojourn to my local reserve.


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