On my way to the Fen this morning I saw a sight I’ve been waiting to see again for several years. Over my local common, newly restored, a Barn Owl was hunting. The common has been rescued from overgrazing and uncovered from rubbish, the grasses and wild-flowers are beginning to flourish again. The hard work of a dedicated group of people is clearly paying off as the local Barn Owl chooses once again to hunt there. Using the car as a hide I slowly approached as the owl sat on a post, I managed one photo before she was in the air again.

She dropped onto her prey and carried it to a nearby tree to eat. I waited, and 15 minutes later she flew down to another post. The vegetation is quite high at this point, but I want to make the most of the light. This is the time of day we photographers call ‘the golden hour’. For an hour at sunrise, and an hour at sunset the light is at it’s most golden and most beautiful.

It’s almost 5am, this is my favourite time of day. Not another soul to be seen, just me, the Barn Owl and the rising sun. She takes off again, hunts briefly, then gains height and flies steadily towards the village. She’s going home to roost, and I continue to the Fen.

It’s a bit breezy on the Fen, but today the Sedge Warblers are a little more obliging. I watch this one gathering insects for her youngsters, and she comes too close for me to focus on her.

She disappears into the reed-bed to feed her chicks and I continue my walk. Not much else going on, a Roe deer see me and bounds away before I can lift the camera and a pair of Cuckoos fly over. Walking back, I spot the male Marsh Harrier flying directly over the path I had been walking on 20 minutes ago. He soars and turns, then lets the wind carry him, what day to be a bird. Back at the centre, the pair of Spotted Flycatchers are hanging around, catching flies and perching in the sun.

(Click images to view larger.)


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  1. Worth waiting for. Lovely to know the Barn Owls are again using the Common, pardon the pun but when we first came here 15 years ago (today) they were a common site around that area. Well captured. We thought we saw a Bittern in one of the fields as we were going home from yours but when Jan reversed back (she did) it was a fallow buck in amongst the crops. He let us watch him for a minutes before bounding off.

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