Somerset Ornithological Society - Bird News
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Large Owl

Travelling south on the M5 this morning at around 7.30a.m. On a pylon in a field to the left hand side shortly after Bridgewater services, I noticed a very large Owl perched on the very top. My first thought, was someone had placed one of the plastic monsters at the top and how stupid that would be, but still hoping it was the real macoy. Anyway on the way home at around 4p.m. Guess what? No Owl, it was a genuine bird. Having looked through my Collins 2nd edition I am now thinking due to its size and shape, (as I said earlier. It was very large), it was a possible Eagle Owl. Is it possible that I could have seen a Eagle Owl at this time of year, and in these sort of surroundings. The sun light was behind the bird and it's head looked to be facing away from me, and I was travelling at around 70mph, So not much chance of any further identification. Anybody have any thoughts?

Re: Large Owl

Hi Brian,

Thanks for sharing your observation.

Eagle Owl seems highly unlikely, in terms of both location and behaviour.

My suggestions would be either Common Buzzard or Cormorant - I've seen both species using the pylons in that area, including perched right on the apex.

Incidentally, juvenile Cormorants are much browner that adults and their heads/necks can virtually disappear when preening and viewed from behind.

Best regards,


Re: Large Owl

Could have been an escape. Have seen an Eagle Owl on the arm of a young man, walking along the pavement next to Taunton School in recent months. Extraordinary sight. Is it a mascot or something? Somebody must know.

If it is an escape, Brian's observation might be of importance!

Re: Large Owl

There is an escaped Eagle Owl from Exeter last seen on the outskirts of Exeter on 13th August 2013 he could have made the journey up so its not beyond the realms of possibility his owner is Mr Hayman on 079310 20613. I have phoned the owner and let him know of a potential sighting and to see if he has recovered his bird

Re: Large Owl

Hi Nick,

I can see where you are coming from, and what you are saying. Though I have no doubt in my mind, that the bird was a Owl. I often see Buzzards on the pylons. This bird was far larger than a Buzzard, and though I can't say for 100% it wasn't a hunched Cormorant, the body shape looked far to rounded, and not really any tail protrusion from my recollection. You could still be completely right in what you have said. Unfortunately we'll never really know.
Many Thanks for your view.
Brian Thompson

Re: Large Owl

Hello Chris and Paul,
A possible escape, sounds plausible. If that is the case, I wonder if there have been any other reports of a missing Bird? It really makes me think, did I see what I thought I saw? Obviously this will never fully resolve it's self for me. Though many thanks for both of your replies. Hope Mr Hayman retrieves his bird.
Brian Thompson