18th October 2018
Established 1872. Online since 1996.

Unusual house guest goes visiting in Papa

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A PAPA Stour resident got a surprise at the weekend when an owl flew into his porch.

Oliver Tait, of Northouse, Papa Stour, saw a bird flying around his garden on Saturday morning. Thinking it was an Arctic Skua, he paid it little attention, until the bird flew towards the house and in through the open door. Mr Tait said: “To my astonishment it flew into the front porch of the house. When it saw us it tried to escape through the closed window, so my friend quickly grabbed hold of the bird which we were surprised to find was a long-eared owl.”

Mr Tait managed to take a few pictures of the owl, and after checking it over to make sure it wasn’t injured, he set it free. He said: “It flew right off after I released it and I haven’t seen it since.”

Brydon Thomason of Shetland Nature Cruises said that while sightings do occur, the birds are not usually seen out in the open. “The long-eared owl is relatively common in Shetland as a passage migrant in spring and autumn from the north Scandinavian forests.

“Occasional influxes do occur in late autumn often resulting in a few birds over-wintering but they are often unnoticed as they roost in the larger more mature gardens and plantations during daylight hours. As they are very much an arboreal species it is a real privilege to see them out in the open in the light of day.”