7th February

Nothing much more than the regulars today: 6 Purple Sandpipers and 5 Short-eared Owls at the Bill, 8 Common Scoter and a Red-throated Diver through on the sea there, 20 Redwings and a Fieldfare at Avalanche Road, 12 Goosanders and 2 Pale-bellied Brent Geese at Ferrybridge and 2 Black-necked Grebes and 2 Eider in Portland Harbour.

The first butterfly of the year - a Peacock - was on the wing in the Obs garden.

The Short-eared Owls continue to entertain © Martin Cade:

...and we're still hearing them a lot at night, quite often when they fly right over the Obs as on this occasion back in January:

For obvious reasons we're not quite sure what they're up to when they're so vocal during the hours of darkness so this afternoon we spent a bit of time with them in daylight to see whether that might give any clues; in this recording the calls that most corresponded to what we've been hearing at night were largely directed toward other species - here a settled Common Buzzard that the owl was persistently diving at and then a Kestrel that flew through (the original recording that we've edited this down from is more than five minutes long so calling wasn't actually very frequent) :

The calls given when two owls had a brief aerial skirmish were quite different:

It'd be pretty hasty to draw any conclusions from these brief observations but we're tempted to wonder if some of the nocturnal calling mightn't be directed towards the Barn Owls that we're also hearing a lot of at night.