Hail's View

What was turning into a very uneventful trip to Hails View this afternoon became quite memorable after a crazy 5 minutes, just as I was thinking about leaving. There was little more than 10 species on the list after nearly an hour, with the highlight being a few House Martins. A group of non-birders joined me for a while and asked if I had seen anything to which I lamented there was very little about due to the strong winds. Shortly after they left a small hawk in the distance which certainly wasn't a Kestrel and wasn't hunting like a Sparrowhawk was almost certainly a female Merlin. Then in the same area a Marsh Harrier was quartering. A few moments later the Marsh Harrier came a bit closer and flushed a large pale bird from the grass. I had excellent views of it as I momentarily considered Barn Owl, ruled it out, and concluded it was a Short-eared Owl. I still needed to rule out Long-eared Owl and thankfully was able to get a few photos to do so. The owl headed off south towards Rackham. The bird was probably there the whole time I was there, skulking in the grass.

I headed over to Rackham a bit later but couldn't locate it over Amberley.  It remains to be seen whether it headed off on its migration south or sticks around for a while.

Short-eared Owl

Blue Tit


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