My photograph taken of a female Barn Owl with prey flying over farmland in Norfolk at dawn made it to the final 50 in the ‘Countryfile Photographic Competition 2009’, chosen from nearly 33,000 entries.Joe Brand had picked my image out on the programme on BBC1 as one she liked saying ‘I liked this,a barn owl flying home with food’
The image was taken in the first rays of sunlight and I got into place at around 4.00am and waited, then this female dived for something to my front and I followed her in my camera’s viewfinder as she flew straight towards me with this vole she had caught.With the poor light it was hard to get any shutter speed to freeze the action and out of many this one was the best with this beautiful pink,morning light as the sun came up in the left of this photo.
A moment I will treasure forever and never forget as Barn Owl’s are one of my favorite birds and to have seen this was great.
My “Dippers Of The Dale” article I wrote and supplied the images to in October’s issue of Birdwatching Magazine has had a great response from it’s readers and colleagues and friends of mine.The Dipper has been a bird that has captivated me since I was a small boy and Lathkill Dale NNR in the Peak District is a beautiful place and one of the best place’s in the country to see these amazing ‘Masters of the river’ as I call them
A sample of the response’s can be seen below in an email sent to the Editor Of Birdwatching Magazine;
Dear Editor-Bird Watching Magazine, I wish to congratulate Craig Jones on his article(October 2009 Edition-Birdwatching Magazine)on the continuing bad behaviour of some dog walkers in Lathkill Dale in the Peak District.Reading his article I was powerfully reminded of witnessing dogs encouraged to enter the water by their owners whilst walking in Lathkill Dale earlier this year.As a keen birdwatcher,I wrote to the Peak District National Park Authorityand to Natural england and received helpful letters from them both.
The rules talk about the requirement to keep a dog under ‘close control’ but as Craig indicates in his article,this is clearly not sufficient.The Natural England correspondent wrote that is was their view that a requirement to keep all dogs on leads would not tackle the persistent offenders.I am afraid that dog proof fencing of the waters is now required as Craig seem’s to suggest.In any case,I would like to encourage visitors to the Dales to report incidents of poorly controlled effort to promote stricter protection for the Dipper and the other wildlife.
Dr D Brawn
The situation is affecting a lot of visitor’s to this area and many other places around the country where freshwater meets Dogs and Dippers/Wildlife and the more the issue is raised the more people will know and maybe something will change.I would like to thank Matt Merritt/Features Editor for allowing me to highlight this issue in such a great manner in your magazine and hopefully I can keep your readers up to date with developments to see if anything has changed there.
I hope to educate others to change our approach on how we view wildlife so we can conserve the beauty around us and protect the Dipper,to allow future generations to enjoy the same charismatic behaviour that sparked my love for this bird.