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Sunday 6 November 2016

Short Eared Owls and Spoonbills at Steart, Lesser Yellowlegs at Cheddar!

Yesterday afternoon myself and my spotter, my other half Nicola with binoculars, visited WWT Steart Marshes with the intention of seeing and hopefully photographing Short Eared Owls.
   As we arrived, the Sun decided to leave. A great start! It was also very windy and bitter...Winter is well on the way!
  We saw lots of birds including Golden Plover, Kestrel, Curlew, Buzzard, Shelduck (And possible Ruddy Shelduck!), Black Tailed Godwit, Skylark and....Short Eared Owl!!
  Yes, we got lucky, mainly thanks to the abilities of my 'Spotter' who first noticed the Shortie by shouting 'Owl!' as we looked out from one of the viewing screens! Luckily again, it landed not far away on a fence post....looking our way! I played with the camera settings in the low light, and just about managed some half decent shots before it disappeared over a grassy slope.
    It was also my 'Spotter' that noticed the 2 'Egrets' in the distance were not in fact Egrets, but much rarer Spoonbills! We watched them feeding in the water using their characteristic technique of swinging their huge bills from side to side. This was a bonus I wasn't expecting!
   A flock of Golden Plover flew in to roost in a field by the road as the evening rolled in and the light faded further. A little way further up the road, we saw a Short Eared Owl again, this time very distant, but it was flying higher and showing it's very long wings in silhouette. What a bird!

  A few days earlier I had returned to Cheddar to photograph the very confiding Lesser Yellowlegs in better light. The sun certainly made a difference, and I got some nice shots of this rare vagrant from North America.

Below are some of the photos from Steart, mainly 'record shots' as the birds were often distant and the light bad, plus a few of the Lesser Yellowlegs;

^Above^ - Stunning Short Eared Owls at Steart.

^Above^ - Spoonbills at Steart.... one of them colour-ringed.

^Above^ - Stonechats at Steart.

^Above^ - Snipe at Steart.

^Above^ - Skylark at Steart.

^Above^ - Shelduck, with a possible Ruddy Shelduck at Steart.

^Above^ - Kestrel at Steart.

^Above^ - Magpie at Steart.

^Above^ - Little Egret at Steart.

^Above^ - Mallard at Syeart.

^Above^ - Meadow Pipit at Steart.

^Above^ - Wigeon at Steart.

^Above^ - Lapwings at Steart.

^Above^ - Grey Herons at Steart.

^Above^ - Goldfinches at Steart.

^Above^ - Golden Plover at Steart.

^Above^ - Buzzard at Steart.

^Above^ - Black Tailed Godwits at Steart.

^Above^ - Fieldfares at Steart.

^Above^ - Inquisitive young cows at Steart (Wall Common)

^Above^ - Backlits reed heads at Steart.

^Above^ - Backlit Autumn leaves at Steart.

^Above^ - My beautiful Spotter!! :)

^Above^ - The Lesser Yellowlegs at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Goldeneye ducks at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Teal at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Mute Swans at Cheddar reservoir.

^Above^ - Black Headed Gull finding something to eat in the top of a tree in Wells, Somerset.

^Above^ - Jackdaws at Wells.

^Above^ - Rook at Wells.

^Above^ - Carrion Crows at Wells.

^Above^ - Backlit Autumn leaves at Wells.

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