A chink in the clouds

If I remember anything from the beginning of 2013 it will be my encounters with barn owls on the marshland by the River Wey at Pyrford. The best of the weather today was this morning when I was doing other things. This afternoon the sun was struggling to break through the odd chink in the clouds.

Still, I thought I'd go look at the barn owls. They're always there late afternoon and so they were today. I came within a smidgin of getting a really close shot. I'd hidden behind a thicket and the owl came back in my direction popping out from the thicket flying low just a few yards away. I had two shots. It was plum in the first but the autofocus was too slow. It had sharpened for the second but the owl was low in the frame and only its head and half a body were there.

It's frustrating but it's also what draws me back because I know it's not going to be easy to get the shot I want. I walked a bit further this evening and saw another barn owl way off over the marsh. Then walking back I saw a pair and then another pair not 100 yards away. So that was five barn owls in a radius of half a mile. Up to now I'd assumed there were two pairs in the area.

Great for owl-spotting then, but sobering to think that these birds are hunting constantly to survive. Everything has been put on hold in this weather - their broods and those of their prey. You can see the birds everywhere wanting to get moving with the breeding season and checking themselves back.

I'll get that shot one day but not today. There wasn't a sunset either but one of those chinks did allow the sun to sparkle briefly on the river so that's what I blipped.

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