Short Eared Owls 11th March

Incredible display of two short eared owls at ~ 1730 on the 11th of March.

The two birds first flew up and around the reeds near the screen on the opposite side of the path from the hide. Sorry, I don't know the Otmoor reserver well enough yet to describe the place by name. One of them flew over our heads and I took this picture

Then one of them got mobbed by 3 crows. The owls kept flying between one side of the screen and the other. One of them perched on a small pile of ceramic pipes in full view from the screen.

Here's one of it flying with the head turned

We got conflicting information about whether the owls will stay there over the spring/summer or not, does anyone have any definite answers to this question?

All in all, this is a beautiful place and we are both thankful to RSPB for making such a wonderful reserve close to us!

  • We've had up to 8 short-eared owls using the reserve this winter for roosting and hunting. They were part of the large influx that came into the country at the beginning of the winter from the continent. There was a a good 'vole year' this year and so the owls had a very good breeding season, up to 40 in one day were recorded coming across the north sea from a watch-point in Norfolk when their migration started. These continental owls (mainly from Russia, Scandinavia and Iceland) then spread out across the UK and were we lucky enough to end up with good numbers on Otmoor. The fact the reserve has been so dry this winter has probably also benefitted the owls by allowing their small mammal prey to remain in the open fields rather than being pushed by the water into the surrounding hedgerows. Short-eared owls do breed in some parts of this country, but the Otmoor Owls will almost certainly head back to the continent as the spring progresses.

  • In reply to Joe Harris (RSPB Langford Lowfields Site Manager):

    Thanks for the reply, Mr. Harris.

    As you said "almost", my girlfriend and I are hoping that maybe, just maybe one couple will stay and breed... :p

    So we shall continue going to Otmoor hoping to catch glimpses of otters and owls!

  • In reply to jinfenggoh:

    Are the shorties still around Otmoor? I'd like to take another glimpse before their departure!

  • In reply to Eriowl:

    Hi, there were two still flying over the reedbeds by the first hide on Monday, One usually perches on the post to the right of the path where it turns towards the first hide.

    Good Luck Spotting them!!!

  • In reply to duff:

    Than you Duff,

    I really hope a couple of them decide to settle down at Otmoor for the summer! After all, it is a beautiful reserve.

  • In reply to Eriowl:

    One short eared spotted flying over the reedbeds on the 1st April around 6PM!