The Way I See Things


Little Owl

How lucky was I today?!

There I was, standing by the fence in a field about 100 yards from the house, Big Lens resting on monopod, photographing squirrels and Fieldfares in the next-door orchard. I'd really wanted to snap a Redwing, but there didn't seem to be any about today and I was on the point of deciding that it was time to get out of the perishing cold, when suddenly a huge alarm noise kicked off among the birds in the orchard. I could just make out a brown and white thing among the branches of one of the apple trees, though even through the Big Lens I couldn't see what it was - but given the noise that was going on I thought it must be some kind of raptor. I was pressing the shutter button, more in hope than expectation of getting anything usable, when suddenly there was a flurry of movement and a second thing arrived on the branch and cuddled up to the first - and I thought OWLS!!!

The second one moved out along the branch to where I had a pretty good view of it, and from where it watched me with an extremely baleful expression for a while, before taking off and disappearing. Up till this point I'd hardly dared to move, but from where I was standing the first owl was still half-concealed, so I decided to risk trying to get into a better position, and to my delight I managed to find a spot at the fence which gave me this straight-on view. I've put in one of my shots of the pair as an extra, and a set of the keepers here.

I knew that we had Little Owls in the village - I've heard them calling, and one evening last winter when I was walking Arthur I saw one sitting very neatly on a neighbour's cottage roof - but this is the first time I've ever photographed one, and I'm absolutely thrilled about it. I was quite surprised that something this small should cause so much consternation among the other birds, but having looked up the species I now know that they will take small ground-feeding birds, so the alarm was justified. There's more information about them here.

Before I go, I must say another thank you for the continuing success of this blip, which many of you have been very generous about. If you've read the entry you'll know that I was uncertain about the identity of the butterflies; I posted a query with a photo on the Butterfly Farm's FB page, and this morning they got back to me with the information that they are in fact Citrus Swallowtails (Papillio demoleus), from the Philippines.

Sign in or get an account to comment.