I decided to try my luck and search for the roosting Long Eared Owls at Elmley nnr today and on route to the reserve i saw this delightful Wheatear on the access track , it was also in the same area when i made my return journey.
There were no other birders around so i had the whole orchard to myself to search for these birds , i walked down the path alongside the orchard and checked likely looking trees that they might roost in , however the first bird i found was a Barn Owl.
Rear view of the Barn Owl.
Great start and a welcome year tick , i retraced my steps checking the trees again when i found my target bird , a really well hidden Long Eared Owl.
Long Eared Owl , honest!!!
I then soon saw the second bird which was less obscured but still well hidden .
2nd Long Eared Owl.
Really pleased to see these birds and they were a very welcome year tick , i watched these birds for a while then left them in peace , of note there were several Red Admirals around the orchard.
One of several Red Admirals.
On my return journey down the access track i saw a distant female Merlin plus Mute Swan , Little Grebe , Little Egret , Grey Heron and a large number of Lapwing .
Very close Lapwing.
Great colours on these birds.
Two distant female Marsh Harriers and a distant calling Corn Bunting which remained unseen made for a very good birding session.