Photo of the Week: 25 November-1 December 2020


Long-eared Owl by Harry Bell



It may now be December, but migration is still very much underway. Just this week we've seen a huge influx of Russian White-fronted Geese in south-east England. Eurasian Woodcock and Blackbirds have also been arriving in number on the east coast, having completed a North Sea crossing from Scandinavia. Owls, too, are still on the move. We've had reports of several Short-eared and Long-eared Owls coming in off the sea this week, including the one brilliantly photographed above by Harry Bell on the Fife coast.

Long-eared is an especially secretive customer, and it is usually these fortuitous encounters on migration that offer birders the best chance at seeing the species well on British shores. Often, though, they are fleeting, as birds arrive in off the sea and quickly disappear inland, or at least into the nearest bit of cover they can find, so Harry was particularly well positioned to find this bird taking a break on coastal rocks.

This bird is the embodiment of late-autumn migration and Harry has made the most of an unusual opportunity to frame the owl so well in an alien setting. How often is it that you see a Long-eared Owl sat among rocks, seaweed and barnacles, with the waves crashing in the background? Not very!



Other notable images


Long-tailed Duck, Longtown, Cumbria (Sam Northwood).

Red-crested Pochard, Priorslee Lake, Shropshire (David Chapman).

Goosander, Pontefract, West Yorkshire (Joe Seymour).

Great Egret, Ballycarry, Antrim (Jonathan Rosborough).

European Herring Gull, Apex Leisure Park, Somerset & Bristol (Carl Bovis).

Little Owl, Snainton, North Yorkshire (Christopher Bell).

Yellow-browed Warbler, Walthamstow Wetlands LWT, London (Phil Aylen).

European Stonechat, Torcross, Devon (Paul Roberts).

Twite, Berneray, Outer Hebrides (Oliver Woodman).

Rustic Bunting, Thursley Common, Surrey (Mark Leitch).

Snow Bunting, Soldiers' Point, Anglesey (Jonathan Bull).

Written by: BirdGuides