Short of the Mark

SE OWl 1 (Calum Scott)

One of four Short-eared Owls caught on the Island last week (Calum Scott)


SE OWl 2 (Calum Scott)

Stunning up close…. (Calum Scott)

SE Owl 3 (Mark Newell)

Just about to be released (Mark Newell)

Monday 15th January comments: The Isle of May NNR is a haven for wildlife at all times of the year and although it is in its dormancy season (as I’ve been saying in recent posts nature still takes advantage of the mighty Isle.

At this time of year small numbers of Short-eared Owls winter on the island having moved in from Scandinavia during the autumn months. These birds roost together and take advantage of the small mouse population on the island and up to seven Owls are currently overwintering.

Last week a small team of researchers stayed on the island including Mark and Calum (carrying out Shag re-sighting work) and Simon (studying the Grey Seals). It was during this visit that Mark managed to successfully catch and ring four Short-eared Owls (impressive work to say the least) and if it can be repeated next winter, it’ll be interesting to see if it’s the same individuals are returning.

It also contributes to bird science as very few Short-eared Owls are ringed nationwide, so if these birds are found elsewhere we’ll know exactly where they are from (or at least overwintered). So it just goes to show, the Isle of May continues to offer great wildlife even in the depths of winter.

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