Sunday, December 18, 2011

Very frustrating!

Snowy Owl
For the past week or so I've been receiving emails and some fantastic images from my birding buddies over in Canada.

Most of the excitement has been regrading up to 70 Snowy Owls, which have drifted down from their regular hunting grounds in Northern Canada and the Arctic in search of food.

The majority of the fall has been at an area known as Boundary Bay, an area renown for holding some of the largest populations of wintering Raptors in Canada and one of my favourite birding locations when visiting. Sadly though it appears that the problems we have here in the UK with a minority of mindless photographers, striving for the ultimate shot with no regard for the animal, seems to be a major problem in Canada now too!

I've been horrified by some of the emails I've received over the weekend, summed up by the news item below.

What can you say about these mindless idiots who appear to have no regard for anything other than themselves. These birds are obviously at the point of exhaustion and the last thing they need is to be spooked from pillar to post while they attempt to recuperate! I know that personally I've been criticised in the past for suppressing various sightings, Long-eared Owls at Brandon for example, but is it any wonder with these idiots always a threat!

Anyway back to the UK and a chilly morning at Brandon Marsh produced three highlights for the day. Firstly, excellent views of a Peregrine attacking the Lapwing population. Secondly, good views from the Wright Hide of a Bittern on the front edge of the reeds in front of Big Hide. Finally, some very tasty and welcome mince pies with our morning coffee in Big Hide, supplied by our steely eyed Bittern spotter, Jeff Hood.

Oh yes, worth a mention to tune in to Countryfile tonight (BBC1 @ 7pm) where it's quite possible that some of the footage taken at Brandon Marsh a few weeks ago may be used!