Sunday, 8 February 2015

My First Visit to Burwell Fen for Short-eared Owls

24th January 2015

There had been reports of Short-eared Owls at Burwell Fen throughout the winter. Fens can be tricky areas to find your way round as there are no signs, they tend to merge into each other and so you are never quite sure where you are. So it was only when I received detailed directions of where to go, where to park and where to stand that I thought I would give it a go. We arrived at mid-day but the owls didn't normally appear until around 2.30pm so we had a couple of hours to explore the site, find our way around and glean some more local knowledge.

The site was extremely quiet, virtually devoid of any birds was this was more than compensated for by the numerous Roe Deer present. This was a particular bonus as they are virtually absent in Hertfordshire and so this was my first close encounter. Like most deer they are fairly nervous and keep their distance. With this trio one was always on sentry duty while the other two had their heads down feeding.

Those two spare hours soon went and it was now time to keep your eyes open for owls. Short-eareds are obviously like buses as after quite a long wait, two came along at once. The next hour was pretty busy with owls appearing and disappearing at regular intervals, with I would guess up to five birds present.What a superb site and I am sure that with a few more visits and a certain amount of luck it would be possible to get some really good shots.

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