At the point of setting out to go seawatching early this morning I opened the back door to find a young Barn Owl perched precariously on the edge of a water butt and staring at me intently. I ushered it off and it dropped onto the concrete apron between the house and the barn, but then "ran" with a rolling, high stepping gait into some long grass. I caught it up, surprised that it was so light and skinny ( the runt of the brood ? ) and put it close to the barn , but it had other ideas and disappeared round the corner into a nettle bed. And so ended the latest chapter in the Barn Owl saga.
At lunchtime I carefully peered around the corner of the barn, given both sheep and cattle had been feeding there. Not a sign , but then an adult ( the very white one ) shot out of the entrance hole into the barn's nest box and sailed off down the track. Strange behaviour, I thought, given everything had been done so quietly! I decided to leave them all to it, but kept an eye open at dusk for any signs. Not a thing !
Having finally got on my way just before six o'clock the next couple of hours sea watching were good , but not exceptional, and mirrored other occasions recently. Just under 600 Manx Shearwaters flew south ( none north ) , as did a similar number of Gannets, although a few birds were plying there way northwards too. Doubtless all birds noted at the moment are on feeding movements, including the parties of Auks speeding their way southwards. A small number of Kittiwakes flew northwards, returning very probably to the breeding cliffs on Colonsay. Little other movement was in evidence other than of local birds ( Shag, Fulmar).
At a time when movements of waders are certainly ongoing, was of a single summer plumaged Turnstone flying south. the only evidence. A bit surprising but making the anticipation of what is in store all the more enjoyable. A cast around the local area was equally frustrating except for a few feeding Sand Martin and House Martin. The latter are likely to be local breeders but an attempt to find out where proved impossible.
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