Barn Owls are a bird that stir a great fascination and emotion for me, I have loved them since my very early teens. I have had a truly magical time on my Barn Owl project over the summer. As we enter the season of Autumn I just wanted to update you on whats happened since my last blog covering this project that you can read here.
The last few months at my Barn Owl project have been wonderful, the young now have fully fledged and they are exploring further and further afield. Barn Owls are great parents and unlike most birds that fledge and their parents move them on, Barn Owls are different and more tolerate of their young. Often the young can stay in the same home range for sometime after they leave the nest because the adults are completely non-territorial, which is great and gives them the best start in life.
This old working coal mine in my hometown, where I was born and bred dates back to the mid 18 century and is now a heritage site taken over by nature. It has a fence around that keeps these Barn Owls safe from disturbance which they use to perch on and hunt from. Once the sun starts to go down the place really does take on a different feel and the two family of Barn Owls there and their young all come out and fly around like small little handkerchiefs above your head.
Its truly a magical place and the power of nature which for me is unplanned, unscripted, innocent and beautiful is something I love capturing that with my camera. This is what true wildlife photography is all about and what it means to me. The following images I hope show you just how wonderful nature can be and in this case the beautiful Barn Owls.
A family, mother & father and three daughters came upon this young Barn Owl that had landed onto this post. A magical moment that was a real surprise for them as they walked past on the small footpath. They stopped watched and took photos and the young girls where jumping with joy and pointing with excitement. The background is a local estate that’s not far from this old 18th century coalmine.
There are a few locals that give their time up most nights that live not far from this site. One was a miner there before it closed in the mid 1980’s and the others all have a great love for these birds which I have always find very enduring and wonderful for these Barn owls. It has a fence around the whole site too, that keeps these Barn Owls safe from disturbance which they use to perch on and hunt from as you can see from the image below..
There is also security guards checking the fences too as its a site of local importance and national heritage. its also dangerous should people get inside due to its mining past. So the Barn Owls have the best help possible which makes this a wonderful story of people living alongside nature.
The following images show the young now that are hunting for themselves and going about their own lives. Slowly over time they have lost all of their down feathers and they adult plumage is really coming through. At times though they still return, without reason to where they were born. I’d like to think they find comfort in doing so with all the perils of adult life ahead of them.
With my last image I wanted to show you the adult female Barn Owl in all her beauty. Shes hunting in the fading light here, flying straight towards the sun over the rough grassland habitat she hunts over.
I support the wonderful work of the Barn Owl Trust here the UK, the only trust that looks after our native Barn Owls. Please have a look on their website with Christmas coming up as they have some wonderful gift ideas. All proceeds go to helping these wonderful birds.
I have lost count of the number of hours I have spent so far on this wonderful project. Time has gone so fast over the last several months. I wanted to take this opportunity to thank Sealskinz UK who support me with their clothing. During the many cold evenings and rainfall I was very thankful of their socks, gloves and hat I use. Both sets of gloves I have worked amazingly well with my cameras controls.
The ones I’m wearing in these images are the Fairfield gloves, soft yet so warm and waterproof. I have also used the Ultra grip Gloves too which are amazing. With the onset of more cold and wet weather to come with the changing seasons you really should try Sealskinz products because they are the best on the market within their field.