This year a remarkably tame juvenile has been frequenting the area around Reception at Strumpshaw. Although I only saw it briefly do its most daftest trick, sitting on the 'what birds can you see?' noticeboard, it gave spectacular views to a respectful audience that kept its distance.
Possibly my favourite moment was when it swooped past a couple of monopod lengths away. But the views of it perched weren't bad either. I have never seen a Leo/LEO/L-eO this well.
... or, better, LEO. Or, actually, L-eO. Whatever way you write it, birders will recognise the abbreviation-cum-acronym. It's short for Long-eared Owl. One of the more exciting records recently - beating my views of Norfolk's first Lesser Scaup, for a start - has been Drew Lyness's discovery that Long-eared Owls have bred at RSPB Strumpshaw Fen. Nesting was suspected a couple of years ago, with adults being seen at dusk on spring/summer days.
Let's hope it avoids trains running along the adjacent line, and cars entering the reserve car park, and survives through till next year.