As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday 8 October 2017

Rarity finders: Eurasian Scops Owl in Co Durham


With good numbers of Yellow-browed Warblers around locally, I was optimistic for my morning’s trip around my local patch at Ryhope Village Dene, Co Durham, on 27 September.
Arriving just before sunrise, I headed down through the tunnel to the beginning of the Dene. With only 40 minutes spare before I had to head to work, I began to search the two larger canopies in the trees at the edge of the tunnel. With just the odd Blackbird noted, I headed up the bank to the right to search from the top of the valley. Checking the now famous Elder bush, there was only a Robin skulking among its branches.

I decided to head down the dene, checking each bush for any sign of movement. As usual, there were good numbers of Goldfinches flying overhead, together with a couple of Lesser Redpolls. A movement in the lower part of a hawthorn bush caught my attention, and after spending 10 minutes waiting to get a decent view, this turned out to be a Lesser Whitethroat. 

Time was running out. I had to head to the classroom to prepare for my day’s teaching and decided to head back up towards the tunnel in the hope of hearing a calling Yellow-browed Warbler. As I almost reached the top, I spotted a warbler on the other side of the Elder bush and I quickly walked up the bank to gain a better view. As I lifted my bins, I instantly uttered some colourful words - a very small owl had turned its head and looked at me.

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