Thursday 29 April 2021

News: Short-eared Owl along the Roman Road

Monday 26th April, 2021

Whilst out walking in the evening sun along the Roman Road earlier this week, Andy M was particularly excited to see a Short-eared Owl. Seen initially gliding along the Roman Road, it drifted over the hedge into the field beyond. Andy followed and spotted it 'perching' on the ground a short way off.

This relatively large owl (a little larger than a Barn Owl) has coarsely-patterned brown plumage on the back, being more finely patterned on the head, with a striking pale facial disk, darker areas around the large eyes, and short 'ear' tufts. As Andy approached, it flew off across the field, gliding gracefully on surprisingly long and narrow wings, to again 'perch' on the ground beneath another hedge. 

Unlike other owls, Short-eared Owl are partly diurnal and can be seen hunting during day-light hours, preferring open scrubby grassland away from woodland.

Whilst only very rarely seen in the Abingtons (the last one was seen by Anne D-N south of the LSA in Sept 2015), small numbers of Short-eared Owl overwinter in Cambridgeshire, being more usually seen in places such as Burwell Fen, Wicken Fen and the Nene Washes.  Derek T has also more recently seen one around Dernford Reservoir, near Stapleford last winter.

Photos of a Short-eared Owl, taken by Derek T at Dernford Reservoir in Nov'2020.

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The Aims of Abington Naturewatch

At their meeting on 9 April 2005 the members approved this revised version of the aims of Abington Naturewatch:

  • To monitor and record the wildlife (fauna & flora) within the borders of the Abingtons;
  • To encourage protection of our wildlife, maintain its quality and foster its diversity;
  • To promote awareness of the richness, potential and problems of the natural environment of the Abingtons;
  • To cooperate in improving access to the local natural environment for the benefit of all Abington villagers.

Pat Daunt, Founder

The organisation is informal and communication is by email if possible; members are notified of events from time to time. Contact details are maintained by a small "project team". There is currently no membership fee as costs are covered by voluntary contributions at events.

Members are encouraged to report notable sightings of flora and fauna within the Abingtons to the appropriate sector coordinator and an illustrated record is published annually.

A map of the area covered, with some features noted, is available here:>

For more information or to join, please contact David Farrant on (01223) 892871.

Contributions to our records should be sent to sector contacts or either of the above. Photographs may also be submitted to Andy Merryweather (