Sunday 17 March 2013

Langley Staithe: still good for bad birdwatchers

barn owl

THIS miserable winter deigned to ease a little this afternoon. But while the thermometer in my garden claimed 8 degrees, it didn’t feel like it down at Langley Staithe.

This beautiful spot continues however, to offer easy pickings for the lazy birdwatcher. I spotted the first barn owl before I’d even got out of the car. Unusually he was hovering over the water before retreating to his favourite patch – the marshland to the south of Langley Dyke. A  heron was there too, looking to go fishing in one of the smaller dykes that criss-cross this landscape. Then a kestrel with surprisingly yellow talons in the woods to the north of the dyke and finally a second barn owl up towards the Yare.

Normally the owls glide gracefully. Today’s Force 5 meant it was all a bit hurried and hurtled. But throw in a couple of crested grebes on the river and it wasn’t a bad haul for 15 minutes work.

Then the sky grew black from the east, the wind picked up and the rain started. There’s nowhere to hide out here. The grebes’ ornate head plumes started to look ruffled, the kestrel retreated grumpily along the telegraph poles as I approached and the owls disappeared completely. Winter was back and we all went somewhere warmer.

* Photo by Nigel Blake taken from the RSPB website. More on barn owls from them here.

* My drivetime Barn Owl article here.

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