Sunday, 26 October 2014

Barn Owl

We are lucky enough to live somewhere with a reasonably high number of barn owls, so much so that one can become almost blasé about them. One particular bird is almost predictable, in that it tends to be found most mornings sitting on a post in a low lying meadow along our daily cycle route. There he sits, perfectly positioned to survey the surrounding tussocks for vole action.

I managed to get reasonably close to him recently to take a few shots. I used the classic 'wait until he looks the other way' technique, advancing a few steps at a time before crouching down again when he  (she?) looked back, like some dimly remembered childhood game. Periodically, the bird would swoop down from the post, presumably to take some prey, before returning to the perch.

And then last week, I got the chance to get even closer to a barn owl, this time to a tame bird. Myself and my brother spent a morning with Lavenham Falconry flying harris hawks, barn and tawny owls. Getting up close and personal with these birds was of course fabulous, but slightly tinged with the knowledge that such a packaged 'experience' lacks the element of chance and excitement of wild encounters. Hopefully, future generations will still be able to enjoy the thrill of seeing one of these special birds coursing over the fields like a spectre.

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