On Sunday 9th January it was dry and cloudy, well what I could see of it when I went out in the dark. I drove to the Trailway carpark in Shillingstone, I wasn’t being lazy as the river was nearly in flood and I probably couldn’t have made it across the bridges to Bere Marsh. The ground is so wet now it is difficult to walk for mud! Joys of the Blackmore Vale in winter.

As I turned to drive into the carpark I had a shock (a nice one) there was a Barn Owl perched on a large post at the edge of the triangle of grass, if I opened my window I could have touched him, what a lovely sight, of course he soon flew off I was worried as he headed towards the main road but he soon veered of towards Bere Marsh.

I walked the Trailway towards the farm and burial ground, it was still quite dark so it was a case of just spotting what I could and listening. The Song thrushes are singing well at the moment, if it’s light enough I can spot them in the tops of the trees and hedgerows, beautiful. The one in the image below was close to the carpark.

I headed up the Trailway and was pleased to spot a Barn Owl up by the woodland burial ground flying across the rough grass. I’m assuming it was the one I saw by the carpark but it may have been a different one. Hopefully the Bere Marsh Owls have paired up again in December.

Song Thrush
Song Thrush

As I walked along the Trailway I spotted a fairly large flock of Long Tailed Tits, you usually hear there peep-peep voice before you see them busily rushing in and out of the hedgerow. Even though it’s dark I can hear various birds, a Green Woodpecker and Greater Spotted Woodpecker with distinctive calls in the distance. Always a few Robins and Wrens in the hedgerows. There were small groups of Gulls flying across  from the coast they seem to return again in the evening probably feeding in the Blackmore Vale. There were a pair of Roe deer grazing near the farm and a few Rabbits, we don’t see any round home at the moment.

When I got back to the carpark I spotted a small bird on the Dock seeds at the edge of the triangle of grass around the junction of the road near where I saw the Owl, I got closer and realised it was a male Stonechat. I didn’t expect to see one there and then I spotted a female in the background.

I went home very pleased with what I saw and heard. 

Stonechat, male
Stonechat, male
Stonechat, female
Stonechat, female
Stonechat, female
Stonechat, female

 

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