Spent new year at work but at 9 30 at night I had to go to Amble. My usual route is straight up the A1, across to Chevington moor and north from Red row. This is good Owl country. At this time of year 5 species can be seen around here but tonight was heavy rain so I wasn't really looking for anything. At Chevington moor a Barn owl flew just ahead of the car and on my way back the Long eared owl was sitting on a fence post a few hundred yards to the east of where I saw it last week north of Northsteads plantation (presumably the same bird). It was more wary and as I turned the car it suddenly became narrow and upright with the ear tufts erect, it's orange eyes were bright in the headlights. It flew off but only went a few yards before disappearing into the pines.
I'm keeping a local patch year list for 2009. The boundaries are a bit generous; a mile or two either side of Morpeth but including the ponds of Linton, Longhirst and Bothal a few miles east of Morpeth. It was still light when I came home from work and picked up some common woodland birds including a nice flock of Siskin at the top of Abbey meadows and two Dippers at Highford bridge.