The following morning at Church Marsh was not quite so lively, although 3 Shoveler went on the WeBs count and were NFY.
This morning I made an early start and was down on Claxton Marshes soon after 7. My patch list for the year swelled nicely, as I took in views of Treecreeper and Stonechat on the walk to the river, and a Skylark was singing high but couldn't be picked out against the blue. Not new for the year were an excellent 4 Barn Owl, 2 Marsh Harrier and 1 Kestrel. Lovely to see. Across the river, Dunlin, Golden Plover and Shelduck were also NFY. Buckenham was looking decent actually, the pools were busy with Lapwing and the aforementioned Waders and Raptors continually cruised through putting up the Wigeon. No sign of any Peregrine though.
Those that know me well will understand what a big deal this next bird is to me. Every February I go out and listen for Long-eared Owls, on and off patch, as far as The Brecks but often closer to home. I have never had a sniff off one singing outside the Thetford area until last night. A singing Long-eared Owl had me quite literally jumping for joy. I will be keeping the site to myself of course but hopefully readers will be just happy to know 'what's about' and any further news may or may not appear here! Until then, I will be raising a glass to both one of my favourite birds and Marcus Rashford!
A quite unfortunate turn of events. I stepped outside again last night, hoping to hear the Owl again. In truth, I had not heard it particularly well the previous night and was just keen to firm it up in my mind. Indeed, the bird was singing again but something didn't quite ring true. The song seemed more tuneful than long-eared, not as harsh as I was expecting now I was hearing it well. I went away, listened to some calls on Xeno-Canto, including that of Eagle Owl. Just a refresher, nothing more. Songs by both species at different locations partly fitted what I was no hearing. The plot thickened.....
I got home from work today and set out to do some exploring, my aim being to eye on some potential roost trees, but in the back of my mind I have expected to uncover something. Walking along the backs of gardens, the one thing I did not want to see was an aviary, but that was what I got. Inside, a massive Eurasian Eagle Owl!
Bugger. What a balls up. I suppose I had jumped the gun, but then again I wasn't expecting to have to compare what I thought was a Long-eared to an Eagle Owl. I haven't heard Long-eared well for some time, I was out of practise. But I have heard Eagle Owl, well, at a location in The Brecks a few years ago. This bird was doing a poor job of being what it was supposed to be! Birds in captivity no doubt lose the urge to sing, or at least vary from individual to individual. Not the last mistake I will ever make, and looking back and re-reading my post, I can laugh about it now. Part of me here thinks "just be a better birder", but then again, what were the chances. You never stop learning.