Friday, 16 July 2010


It was a sunny evening tonight, so I took the opportunity to spend an hour or so at West Hartford pre-beer / pre-earlyish night / pre-overtime shift on Saturday!

The visit started off at quite a slow pace, with reed bunting, meadow pipit, linnet and goldfinch being the only sightings.

At 19:10 the barn owl appeared, hunting over the fields behind the diminished pool. So, with camera at the ready I was set to wait. And wait. typically the barn owl remained distant for most of it's appearance, only coming within range once, but at the wrong angle (flying away!)... so no images were obtained. How come visits without a camera yield fantastic close views??!!

As the barn owl headed back over to the fields near to the River Blyth a few barn swallow flew overhead, alarm calling. I didn't think much of this as a kestrel had been loafing around the old brick building, and conceivably their distress could have been in reaction to the barn owl.

As I scanned for the barn owl I picked up some more distant barn swallow, and remarkably they were being pursued by a hobby. ......HOBBY!!!! My first in Cramlington (though not the first recorded from the West Hartford area). Amazing how a split second can turn a quiet patch visit into a blinder!! The bird almost caught a barn swallow, but very quickly moved through. Texts were issued to the mobile-carrying Cramlington birders, and a wave of degrading responses were sent back. (Thanks lads!!)

So no barn owl pics, but a patch tick. That'll do nicely.

Sun setting at WH...

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