Tuesday, 1 May 2018

Lincolnshire - Frampton Marsh RSPB - Howlsthat!!

Today was ticking along nicely with my focus on sorting out non bird related issues. My progress was halted in its tracks when news on RBA broke of the female Snowy Owl at Frampton Marsh RSPB in Lincolnshire. Amazing where had this bird been hiding for so long!

Strigiforms are my favourite order of birds. The main family is Strigidae with Tytonidae which consists of the Barn Owls. Snowy Owl has been at the top of my wish list of Owls! On previous attempts in Norfolk and just along the coast in Lincolnshire I had failed miserably to add this species to my all time list!

I contacted Devilbirder (DB) at Birdguides who confirmed the source was the RSPB. I expected follow up news soon after but this did not appear until about an hour later. DB sent me a text confirming the bird was still there and in a flash the “Kojemobile” had set its wheels in motion in the direction of Lincolnshire!

I later learnt the reason why news was delayed having arrived and set out on a three mile walk to the mouth of the river where the bird was resting! There were only a handful of people around all had seen the bird in its splendour and were returning to their cars. I established where to look and found myself the only one in the area looking.
Fortunately the Snowy Owl was very visible on the near bank to a small channel and I settled down amongst the hawthorns to view this magnificent bird through my telescope. I took over a hundred pictures but really hoped for a flight shot to complete a perfect afternoon. By now there was a small posse of birders watching the owl.
The tide was coming in and numerous shorebirds were heading towards the scrapes on the main reserve. A combination of the advancing shorebirds and the tide seemed to unsettle the Owl and it took a very short flight which I completely missed. This was not going to happen again. I had one eye in the telescope and my camera was poised above the eyepiece waiting for another indication that the bird would fly. I did not have to wait long and the owl took flight towards the river mouth scattering every bird in the vicinity. The Owl flew out of sight past the river mouth. What an amazing sight!

I appeared very composed from the outside but my organs were doing cartwheels inside. Thank goodness I had learnt from previous visits and travelled when news first broke! Who knows where the bird will be tomorrow with so much suitable habitat in the area.

This is by a clear mile my bird of the year and would feature in my top ten all time species. I caught up with a wheatear on the walk back but did not see the Black Winged Stilt. The car journey was the quickest four hours I have spent behind the wheel. This was a result of an inpromtue concert as I sang my way home to Jamiroquai and like music. I kept the windows up as not to disturb fellow motorists!

The biggest Woooo Hoooo of the year!!