Day three with the Barn Owl.

24th February 2016
I decided to have one more session trying to photograph the Barn Owl, the weather was set fair and the winds were light. It looked like perfect conditions for her to hunt so I set up in my usual location, tucked away in the hedge. Getting there is a little easier now because the ground isn’t so waterlogged, however, it is still far from ideal with glutinous mud still in a lot of areas.
I had been waiting for around two hours when suddenly like a spectre she appeared on the post beside me. I thought the previous experience was a one off but no here she was again! It’s quite remarkable how she just appears from nowhere, in total silence. We all know that they are silent flyers but to experience it first hand is still amazing. It is very difficult for me to keep totally silent in this situation with a wild bird perched six feet away. I watched her surveying the area before deciding in which direction to fly, then she just took off again in total silence flying spectre-like over the meadows, quartering to and fro in search of prey. It’s such a glorious and inspiring sight to watch these birds flying in the late afternoon sunshine.
She disappeared for some time, no doubt hunting her favourite areas and in the meantime I just waited, feeling quite warm in the winter sunshine. After about an hour a familiar pattern started to unfold, here she was flying towards me. I tucked into the hedge full of anticipation as she approached, I moved my lens to where I hoped she might perch. I know when she is about to perch because she stops looking down and looks ahead and just starts to glide. It illustrates just how light these owls are when they perch on the flimsiest of twigs. Her judgement must be superb because once perched she never has to move to a more comfortable position, she always gets it right first time!
She perched beautifully and I shot here in several poses, she doesn’t stay long if you have thirty seconds you’re lucky. It’s basically a three hour wait for thirty seconds, if you haven’t got that sort of patience then you are not going to get the shot unless you have a huge stroke of luck.
I have always stuck to my mantra over the years, it’s not rocket science;
Do your homework, Get there early, Dress suitably, Be quiet, (Patience)!!