Very occasionally something unusual turns up in the park. In the past we've had Waxwings, a Treecreeper, Great Spotted Woodpeckers and the odd fly-over Peregrine or Buzzard. Nothing quite prepared us for this morning's star bird, however. Short-eared Owls breed on moorland in the north and west of the UK and at this time of year move to coastal sites in the south for the winter. We also get an influx of birds from mainland Europe in most autumns. To see one flying only at tree height over the park this morning giving fantastic views was an extraordinary experience for us three lucky birders who turned up for the walk. The list in full:

Short-eared Owl - 1 flew over and was being mobbed by corvids near the bowling green 

Raven - 2 flew over and were mobbed mercilessly by Carrion Crows

Carrion Crow - several. One appeared to be extracting seeds from a fir cone

Magpie - a few

Jay - 2 or 3 mainly seen in flight

Woodpigeon - several

Feral Pigeon - a small flock

Robin - several birds seen and heard including one watching the pond-clearers

Great Tit - a few heard calling

Goldfinch - 1 small group observed feeding on the fruit of Plane trees

Wren - 1 heard behind the pond

Herring Gull - 1 strutting its stuff near the play area

Blackbird - 1 seen by one of the group

Raptor sp. - a brief view of a medium-sized raptor by one member of the group

Thanks to those who turned up - see you next month!

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Comment by Des Bowring on October 22, 2014 at 15:32

It was in view for about a minute, Simon. Inexplicably I didn't try and take a photo and I'm kicking myself for not doing so. It was probably on its way to the coast - the stretch from New Passage to Aust is a winter hotspot for this species, often hosting up to 5 birds.    

Comment by Simon Randolph on October 22, 2014 at 10:27

Wow! And I missed the walk. Almost as bad, if not worse, than the occasion where I didn't have my camera when we got those excellent close views of the waxwings! How long was the owl in view Des? Where do you think it might have been heading? I think we get them along the coastal strip around Severn Beach in winter don't we?

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