Saturday, 8 July 2017

A Close Encounter of the Barn Owl Kind

This evening I went out in search of one bird and came back with my best ever photos of a different bird. My original target was a family of local Peregrine Falcons which I've not visited very often this year. The birds have again bred successfully and reared three young which are now regularly being seen outside the nest box.  I got a brief glimpse of one of them perched high up on the old mill building but after returning to my car for my camera it had disappeared never to be seen again by me this evening.

So after an hour or so waiting for the Peregrines to put in an appearance, I decided to cut my losses and go home. But although the time was 7:45pm it was such a lovely sunny evening with a clear blue sky that I decided to have a look for Barn Owls instead and, as you can see, I wasn't disappointed.  In fact I had my closest ever encounter with this species when one virtually flew over my head taking me by complete surprise.  It was so close I couldn't fit the whole bird in my viewfinder - truly a magical moment.

The bird was regularly quartering the fields hunting for voles and so it was obviously feeding young.  Later, as the sun was finally going down, I did get to see it catch a vole as can be seen in this sequence from the 'Golden Hour'.

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