Myland wildlife, Colchester: 8th October 2016

Some catching-up to do in terms of commuter travel blogs and events, but for the moment this evening’s sunset was worth commenting on. After a fairly wet middle of the day, the clouds finally parted and produced a brief period of blue sky. This promised the possibility of an interesting sunset so I set off into the local fields. In the end the evening sky divided into various parts. To the west there was a thick band of low cloud which hid the final stages of sunset, above which half the dome of sky was streaked with high cirrus (click on images for full-screen view):
 
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To the east the sky was largely just empty darkening blue, but to the north a thick bank of stratocumulus was moving rapidly across the sky:
 
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Just before the high cirrus was swallowed up by the bank of stratocumulus it burst out in a blaze of golden streaks:
 
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The stratocumulus rapidly obscured everything and darkness settled across the landscape, but as I walked back home I spotted a round blob sitting on the telephone wires which cross the last field before emerging into Myland. The blob could only be an owl – specifically a Little Owl (Athene noctua – symbol of the Greek Goddess of Wisdom). I quickly set up the tripod because the darkness meant that only a long exposure would capture anything at all. In the end the owl was no more than a black blob on a dark background on the camera screen, but the magic of RAW and Photoshop revealed that this blob was indeed my acquaintance from a previous trip to these fields:
 
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A good way to end today’s visit to the fields.
 

Author: Richard Lindsay

Having worked for 20 years in the UK statutory nature conservation agencies as Peatland Specialist in the Chief Scientist Team, I then moved to the University of East London where I ran the nature conservation degrees for several years. Now I mainly undertake research and support peatland conservation activities, including the IUCN UK Peatland Programme, within UEL's Sustainability Research Institute. I also paint.

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