Entries Tagged ‘Barn Owl’:

Barn Owl -Update

Filed in Articles, Wildlife on Feb.09, 2010

Having returned to my Barn Owl site over the last few days, where I’d previously watched and photographed this beautiful male Barn Owl hunt for food during the country’s really cold weather last month,I was delighted to see the male hunting but at the same time quite bemused as it was raining,with the rain falling as sleet,a behaviour I’ve never seen before in Barn Owls due to it’s hazardous nature.The structure of an adult Barn Owl’s feathers make them perfectly adapted for silent flight,but this makes them prone to waterlogging so consequently they are not suited to hunting in wet weather.The key to an owl’s silent flight is in its feathers, the next time you find an owl feather, turn it on its side and look at the edge — the line of fibers is scalloped, like a stretched seam. The slight alteration in shape allows the feather to cut the air without making sound,making them perfectly aerodynamic.

Barn Owl

Hunting is certainly more difficult in these testing conditions, as sound as well as sight are hindered in locating small mammals due to the rain.I watched him hunt for about two hours with little success,the wind buffeting him around like a kite ,expelling loads of energy in the process.There was no sign of the female so I presume he’s alone and may probably move on shortly.I really hope not as I have become quite fond of this very resilient Owl.I also have received a lot of ‘Fan’ emails asking if he survived the recent cold snap which I covered in my first ‘Barn Owl’ post,so thank you to those people and here is the proof that he’s alive and kicking and his plumage is in stunning conditon with the onset of the breeding season around the corner.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

And what seems to becoming customary now when I go out photographing of late is the ever presence of Stonechats,whether it be male or female they seem to always find me,and keep me company.The image below is of a female who was really intrigued by me,capturing the mood of the day with the inclusion of the weather conditions in the background.

Stonechat

 

The following is a list of useful Tips, which will help to increase your chances of successful Owl watching:

Wear dark, quiet clothes

Get to know the area during daylight, and establish the most suitable areas of habitat for the species that you are hoping to observe (i.e. where they are most likely to hunt)

If you suspect that an area is being used as a roost or nest site you must not disturb it, but watch from a safe distance

When watching a nocturnal species, arrive at your observation position before dusk – this will allow for your eyes to become gradually accustomed to the gathering darkness, and will ensure that you are ready and settled before the owls emerge

Do not disturb the birds in any way – remain hidden at all times

If you accidentally stray close to a nest, move quickly and quietly away as Barn Owls have Schedule 1 protection status

I have really enjoyed my close encounters with this tough,hardy male Barn Owl and if he remains in this area I will look forward to photographing him,even better if he attracts a mate and breeds I’ll have another long term project to concentrate on with the images being displayed on future blogs-fingers crossed.I hope you’ve enjoyed the trails,tribulations of this owl documented in my blogs as much as I have on the ground.


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Barn Owl

Filed in Wildlife on Jan.09, 2010

As the country freezes in one of the coldest spells of weather for decades I have spent almost the last month moving from one location to another location in the hope of photographing Barn and Short-eared Owls in there habitats,and hopefully some close up shots.Over the last 7 days I have concentrated my efforts solely on alone male Barn Owl which has taken up residence over farm and marshland not to far from my home.I’d watch for hours on end some days and go home with nothing but the smile on my face as I’d laugh to myself knowing that dealing with wild animals is not always as predicable as you’d think.This laughter this week has also been tinted with sadness also as I’d watch a starving Barn Owl hunt over snow covered fields,making simple errors when diving for food,being mobbed by Rooks and Crows as they’d watch the Barn Owl do all the work and then rob him of his catch,knowing that all the energy the Owl had expended hunting was now in vain due to being mugged by the ever present,opportunist Crow family members.

Barn Owl

I have had some really beautiful and close encounters this week with this Barn Owl as he hunted for the healthy population of voles this area has with the constant rustling vegetation I’d witnessed as these rodents woke up and starting going about their daily tasks, as I lay in what for the owl to show up.The saddest thing for me was just watching the Barn Owl frantically trying to locate and hunt for prey as the ground had a small blanket of snow covering it which was made ever worse by the weather and cold conditions these and many more animals are facing during this unprecedented spell of cold weather we are having.I can say though on the few times I witnessed the Barn Owl hunting he was very successful in catching his prey and out running the Rooks,Crows that tried to take his catch,a real struggle for life and survival on all sides though,and with more snow predicted I fear for every animal that lives outdoors.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

On one occasion the Barn Owl came almost alongside me and started to hover as he’d seen something below,I couldn’t believe my luck,the sun was starting to go down and here I was looking like a bush, listening to the wing beats of one of my favorite birds that has enchanted me from childhood,he allowed my a few images until he called time and disappeared-WOW!

Barn Owl

I managed to capture the moment he was flying off with what looked like streamers attached to him but they were pieces of long grass he’d picked up with the vole he’d caught the following two images show you this funny spectacle.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl

I am going back shortly once the forecasted snow has fallen to see this Barn Owl I’ve become quite fond of, hopefully he will have been able to survive the continuing cold spell which I do hope will break very soon to give everyone a break.  My aim is to continue  photographing this owl for as long as he lets me in this area.

Barn Owl

Barn Owl


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Countryfile Photographic Competition 2009

Filed in Articles, In the Press on Oct.10, 2009

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’

Barnowl

 

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.


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