It is obviously a very good year for Short-eared Owls as they are present in good numbers at all the traditional sites with one or two sightings at new sites. The nearest site to home is Heartwood Forest at Sandridge so time for a visit.
This was my first recce of this newly planted woodland managed by The Woodland Trust so therefore time for a circuit of this quite substantial site. The areas where the owls had been seen in previous years is now getting overgrown, but I was soon able to locate the owls in the area around Hillend Farm. I only saw two birds although three were present, and since my visit numbers have increased to five birds.
Luckily today the light was good and I was able to get a few shots although I will be back to try for some closer shots.
I was particularly pleased to be able to get this shot of a bird turning in mid-air to dive on to some prey.
The problem is that many of the areas where the owls are currently hunting have been planted as part of the woodland development, so in about three years the owls will have gone from these areas.