As I crested a high spot in the road, in front of me above the hedgerow I spotted a barn owl coursing the field. The road then gets a bit twisty but I managed to pull up at the end of the field the barn owl was hunting.... and it was heading in my direction and not only that there was a break in the hedgerow! Hastening to unlock the camera, window already down, I turned to find the barn owl upon me and managed to snap a couple of shots – not the best images in the world but imperious when you are looking through the viewfinder into the eyes of theses wonderful creatures. There is no money in the world that pays for that connection. Looking into the eyes of a wild bird such as a Bran Owl is spell-binding.
So fast and so close upon me, as you can see only part of the bird in the image. But he/she looked me in the eye, turned and coursed the field yet again before disappearing past me into an adjacent field where it proceeded to sit on a boundary fence post and view it's domain, looking for that twitch or sound that gives it's prey away. That's just a blade of grass it has caught in its breast feathers after diving into the field but apparently unsuccessfully.
Then a few days later on a much brighter day, minding my own business and indeed concentrating on a completely different subject I nearly crashed the car when I came across another Barn Owl 'fence-post' gazing upon a roadside verge. I fired off a number of images and the bird looked contemptuously at me before continuing it's gaze into the grassland. I crept forward a few feet to get an annoying metal post out of the viewfinder. Another look in my direction of contempt and the Barn Owl just sat there! I couldn't believe my luck.
Into manual mode and adjust the camera settings and I managed these photos of this stunning bird (I have about one hundred!). I even held the whites! Of course a bleeding white van man had to come speeding past and the bird was off to a quieter spot.
Two magical encounters. Paul Daniels, eat your heart out. Now that is magic.
(and for anyone who saw the earlier post, at least I have learnt something – expose for the whites).
and for anyone who is interested, the title image is one I took last May in the Trough of Bowland