Tuesday 7 November 2023

Short-eared Owls in Cornwall 7th November 2023


There has been a big influx of Short-eared Owls into Britain and below I quote Birdguides website......


Short-eared Owls arrive in bumper numbers

It looks set to be an excellent winter for Short-eared Owl in Britain, following an influx of the species in October.

Birds were reported from well over 300 sites on BirdGuides during the month, with many sites hosting multiple individuals. This follows a run of consecutive poor winters for the species – and it looks likely that the 2023-24 will see large numbers in Britain.

The first major signs of an influx came on 8 October, when easterly winds saw a huge arrival along the east coast. The biggest count came at Holme Dunes, Norfolk – a remarkable 54 were logged arriving in off the North Sea. Other large in-off counts that day included 20 at the Isle of May, Fife; 18 at Anderby Creek, Lincolnshire; and 16 at Blakeney Point, Norfolk.

The majority of records continue to come from northern and eastern areas, but birds have filtered south and, in some places, multiple individuals are present. This includes up to 13 at Wallasea Island RSPB, Essex, on 27 October.


They are now appearing here in Cornwall and finding regular roosts & feeding sites. 

I've been lucky to photograph them in a very public place which is criss-crossed with footpaths and the owls seem to be oblivious to dog walkers and hikers on the Cornish coast. 

Voles seem numerous and 3 birds are using quite a large area of rough pasture and coastal heath.

Here is a selection of images including a composite collage of a bird diving into the grass presumably after a vole.