Long-eared Owl, Upton Warren

Long-eared Owl

Ah, a white Lifestyle sign on the A38 north of the Swan (pubs are invading this blog in a big way!) Sign, or sentinel, for the eastward track to the Moors Pool of Worcestershire Wildlife Trust’s flagship reserve. I had about an hour to find the long-eared owl reported on BirdGuides.

Now, here’s a twitching trick. Instead of looking for the bird, look for the birders. So it was that I followed voices behind a screen of willows to find three shapes bent over scopes trained into the reeds. And I landed my 281st British species and a long overdue one at that.

So good was the bird that Dave and I reviewed it next day, but only after hacking round Bredon Hill for a couple of hours. Yup, my mega-bogey, dotterel, was the quarry and again it was elusive. How many times is that I’ve dipped on this wader-that-doesn’t-wade? Too many to think about.

Bredon Hill, Worcs

This lack-of-bird had been sighted on the southeast flank of the Hill. A location familiar to me but even so I turned off the A46 prematurely and so had to crawl from Ashton-under-Hill to Beckford. From there I got it right, taking a northbound lane by the Yew Tree at Conderton. A sharp left-hander about half a mile along put us as close as we could get before walking.

To no avail. Will dotterel hit my British list before that hits 300? At the current rate of progress, that still gives it four years. Four years of failure. Can it be?

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