I’d had my Sunday breakfast and decided to go for a stroll. I stopped in and watched the Eiders for a while as the males were displaying to the female. I began to walk up Palpitation Brae up to the Mainlight pausing briefly for a look at a Chiffchaff and a male Ring Ouzel. As I got to the top I could hear a commotion in the Arnott trap. The Pied Wagtails and Robins were all alarm calling. I peeked over the wall to see a Long-eared Owl looking back at me. I dropped back down behind the wall and got the camera out. I rattled off a few shots but the attention of the Pied Wagtail was too much and the nervous bird flew into the cover in the trap.
I walked back down to the Lighthouse Keepers cottages to find Mark to see if he wanted to trap it. He had actually seen the bird flying onto the island with an entourage of gulls. Though he had not even had his breakfast we set off to see if we could trap it only briefly pausing to stop and look at a Tree Pipit along the way.
Mark expertly and safely trapped the bird and took it to the ringing hut. The bird was ringed, weighed and measured.
Fluke Street and Lowlight occupants all were present with cameras.
The owl was released along Holymans Road away from the gulls. From here it would see the Lowlight bushes where it would be able to roost safely.
Long-eared Owl is principally an Autumn migrant on the Isle of May. This season seen three already and trapped two of them. Both birds have been adult females. These may well be migrating north to breed in a woodland somewhere in Scotland. They are nocturnal and hard to find so it’s always a pleasure to get a view of this breath taking species.