Love affair

posted in: Birds, Gloucestershire | 0

When I arrived at the owl field this afternoon, things didn’t look promising – the light wasn’t too good, I’d just missed one of the Barn Owls putting on a bit of a display, and though the shorties were flying they were coming nowhere near the lane. After chatting to A for a while, I decided to try my luck further round the field, but I wasn’t committed to the move and set off in fits and starts, constantly stopping to look back to the wall, in case I’d made the wrong decision and needed to scuttle back there.

I was about three quarters of the way along the eastern edge of the field when I realised that there were two owls working the north side, and broke into a trot to try to reach them before they moved off somewhere else. I’m sure the cardio workout did me good, but in the event it was unnecessary – not only were they still there when I got round the corner onto the footpath, but for the next twenty minutes they treated me to some wonderful fly-pasts as they hunted back and forth. At one stage they had a bit of a set-to when one decided to disrupt the other’s hunting, which was fun (at least for me); and then one of them suddenly disappeared from view, only for me to realise a couple of minutes later that it was eating a vole on the ground about twenty metres from where I was standing.

After rattling off several dozen shots of the perched owl I checked the sky, which was now empty, took a look at my shutter count, and decided that it was time to go. The temperature was down to 2° by now, and by the time I got back round to the lane my thighs and feet were numb, and I couldn’t feel my fingers. Then when I stopped for a quick debrief with A en route to my car and a flask of hot coffee, I found that I was stumbling over my words because my face was too cold to move properly. So was it worth it…? Well, put it this way: I drove home singing at the top of my voice.

Speaking of singing, I’ve been out at choir practice this evening, so I haven’t had time to process all my images, but I’ve pulled out half a dozen and put them on my Facebook page, if you’d care to take a look. Any one of them could have been my blip – for quite a while the two-owl shot looked likely, and then the head-on image became my favourite for a while, but in the end the simplicity of this won out. I may have taken better shortie photos than this in the past, but only in very good light, and not many, and certainly not recently.

Happy days!