After having finally seen the Tawny Owl earlier this month when I managed to get some photographs at dusk, I was keen to return in the light of the morning. So when my wife Sarah 'phoned me up to tell me it was showing at 6:50am this morning, I was only too pleased to sleepily crawl from my bed and get dressed quickly, when normally I might have been a bit grumpy about being woken from my slumbers. Sarah cycles past the site on her way to work on most days and so she has been looking out for the Owl ever since my first encounter.
I hurriedly got all my camera gear together and left the house still half asleep. After three minutes I was sat in a queue of traffic trying to get on to the East Lancs Road like I used to be for the last two years. How glad I am not be doing that any more! It took three traffic light cycles for me to get through and all the time I was thinking, "I hope it's still showing".
When I eventually got to the site and the bird was sitting symmetrically in the hole in the wall in perfect light I breathed a sigh of relief. I got out and quickly fired off a few record shots (all of which got deleted later) just in case it moved before returning to my car for a tripod.
And then I had a glorious half hour of shooting stills and video with various combinations of teleconverter. I favour the 1.4x teleconverter most of the time, but in good light with a tripod and fairly close to a static subject, the 1.7x and 2x teleconverters are all usable.
Tawny Owls are not the most exciting birds to view on video, but it's worth watching for when they just blink or turn their heads!
So here they are, my best shots ever of a wild Tawny Owl, framed nicely by the brickwork of this derelict old building. And please don't ask me where it is, as refusal to answer the question often offends.