Hush Wing

  • February 8, 2013 2:02 pm

It’s 7.30AM and it’s snowing heavily. I’m questioning my reasoning behind stepping outside with my camera this morning, but with my new found determination to do more photography this year, I know I have to. I’ve been watching the Barn Owl’s on the fen and I know they’ll be out hunting at this time of day, but in the snow? I settle down on the base of a tree and wait. The falling snow patters softly around me, and the swiftly moving clouds open to reveal a glimmer of light. White wings in the distance, and before I know it Mr Barn Owl is hunting in front of me.

Barn owl, Tyto alba, in flight at dawn, Norfolk, February

He swoops in silent flight and I watch, there’s nothing more mesmerising than the sight of a hunting Barn Owl wafting through the air. He floats away out of view and another snow shower moves through. After some time, a movement catches my eye, looks like Mrs Barn Owl is awake.

Barn owl, Tyto alba, perched in tree at dawn, Norfolk, February

She begins to hunt and is chased briefly by a Kestrel, she ignores the squawking falcon who starts his own hunt on flickering wings before being moved on by a pair of Carrion Crows. The Barn Owl glides past, this is my first photography session with them, and I was concerned about how they would react. I needn’t have worried though, both ignored me and hunted as normal, not even looking in my direction.

Barn owl, Tyto alba, in flight at dawn, Norfolk, February

She perches up as another snow shower approaches.  A jogger runs past and the owl and I watch, unconcerned. We’re both waiting, listening, watching the world, she high in the silver birch, me at the base of the oak. Does a Barn Owl stay out in the falling snow?

Barn owl, Tyto alba, perched in tree in falling snow, Norfolk, February

(Click images to view larger…)

If you like what you see, please consider sharing!

UK & Eire Natural History Bloggers

Slavonian Grebe

  • January 25, 2013 6:38 pm

Out practising with the new lens today, and decided to head to the fine city of Norwich. More specifically, Whitlingham Country Park. Despite being close to the hustle and bustle of the city, the park often attracts our more unusual winter wildlife. The local waterfowl proved to be great target training.

Mute Swan, Cygnus olor, adult preening, close up, graceful, Norfolk, Winter

A serene Mute Swan, that is, until it tries to steal your Jaffa cake… (don’t ask!)

Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula, female, swimming, Norfolk, Winter

Tufted duck, Aythya fuligula, female, swimming, Norfolk, Winter

These female Tufted ducks were more confiding than the black and white males.

Then I spotted the star of the show. Small, grey with a startling red eye. A first for me – an overwintering Slavonian Grebe.

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

There is a very small breeding population in the UK, but they are more often seen in the winter months around our coasts.

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

Slavonian Grebe, Podiceps auritus, Norfolk, Winter, UK

He seemed quite content feeding with the other larger birds, often getting lost in the throng, and lost to view. It was bitterly cold lying on the frozen ground waiting for him to resurface, but still great to watch a bird I’ve never seen before. Despite the fluffy appearance he never seemed to get wet!

The snow hasn’t cleared yet, providing a nice reflected uplighting in the dull conditions.

Greylag goose, Anser anser, feeding in snow, Norfolk, Winter

 
(Click images to view larger…)

If you like what you see, please consider sharing!

UK & Eire Natural History Bloggers

Follow

Get every new post on this blog delivered to your Inbox.

Join other followers: