Friday, 7 December 2012

OK SOME BARNIES FROM NORFOLK THEN

 
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), CAN'T BEAT A CLOSE "GLIDE-BY" BY A BARNIE
 There's something about Barn Owls, some call it owl fever, but "owl fever" as I've always understood it was someone who's desperate to get an owl image, so desperate that they'll do anything to get an image, they'll chuck all normal behaviour out the window and act the plain WRONG, those who chase the owl around all day and not letting the owl go about their business of hunting and feeding and generally being a bit of a d**k. To the less damaging (to the owl anyway) who will spend hours in a hide just for glance, nowt wrong with that, can't blame them. However I would rather stand out in the fresh air and get less images. There's something quite enjoyable when you get to watch an owl quartering a field, watching it swoop onto a potential prey, or when one glides past you, quickly gives you the "once over" before carrying on hunting, in that split moment there is a brief connection between the domesticated you (ok semi-domesticated when it comes to me) and a wild animal, an acceptance of "ok, you stay there, don't chase me around and we both get what we want". Obviously if you're tucked up in a hide, you're going to get even better results, yet there is something about standing next to a hedgerow, thinking you're well camouflaged, blending into the background, but lets get real for a moment, the Barn Owl has not only great eye sight but fantastic hearing, so if you're breathing it knows you're there. It's a game of cat and mouse....or maybe owl and vole. PATIENCE is the key word followed by a calming of the intial adrenalin when you glance a Barnie. I've been lucky with Owls, wether it be a Short Eared Owl, Tawny, Little Owl or Barn Owl I still get that adrenalin rush and warm feeling of seeing an owl. But take the bottom image of the Barnie hunting amongst a reed bed just behind the windmill at Cley Marshes, there I was as the early morning low cloud was being replaced my some morning light, freezing cold, when I caught glimpse of the owl hunting. Suddenly stood on the raised footpath the cold was gone and I realised I couldn't hide myself, also I realised I couldn't walk towards it, without disturbing the owl, so I had to do with some long range images, which to be honest made me realise a lot of my Barnie images are very similar, close up, not really showing the enviroment in which the owl is hunting, Now most are taken from the same locations so it's the same owl, same field etc so they are going to look the same, aren't they? The thing I like (apart from the birds of course) the most about Norfolk is the habitats on offer, wether it be a field with an owl, a reed bed with a hovering Harrier and "pinging" Bearded Tits, a salt marsh with a mixture of fresh water or salt water lagoons with waders or plain grubby mud flats, it's often not being represented in my images which is a shame. So with a lot of my images I tried in Norfolk this time I wanted some more "birds in their enviroment" images, funnily I did get a few, don't like the one I posted, I don't like the exposure I plumped for, but as it happened the owl glided within feet of me, but I was high up and it was lower (raised footpath), and it started to hunt the field on the other side of the road, so once it settled in the field and was hunting away I went and stood and got some reasonable shots of my normaul style. Sadly you have to stand on a pavement with tall reed bed in front, a problem for a short ass like me, but between the reed beds is small gap and got the image below. Though you do have to put up with other cars driving past. In the top image, that was from my favourite Norfolk Barn Owl site, again you have to put up with passing cars as they honk their horns, they have to do it due to a small hump back bridge, but in this field you can't enter it (VERY PRIVATE) and are stood by a metal gate and because of that the Barn Owl seems to come  quite close. There wasn't much hovering and diving action going, which is what I really wanted, as  the two fields were quite flooded, but there were also Snipe in the ditches and the odd Curlew in the field, with Brent Geese flying overhead. Oh and I can't forget the rather tame Robin which got some meal worms for it's efforts. The very last image Blogger won't allow it to be "resized" so please click on it to have a better view again it shows it in it's "enviroment", this time you can see in the very distance, the mudflats and shore line near Burnham.
BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), USUAL STYLE CROP

BARN OWL (TYTO ALBA), A RELAXED CROP SHOWING A REED BED HABITAT
 

 
 

 
 

 
 

6 comments:

  1. Excellent shots as always Doug. A bird I rarely get to see, and when I do I get so excited the pictures turn out crap. lol

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    1. Thanks Keith. Glad to hear I'm not the only one to get a slight rush of adrenalin when a Barnie is spotted:)

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  2. Hey what do you mean you are the only one to get an adrenalin rush, I'd compare seeing a Barnie out hunting to be better that sex, or maybe I'm not doing it right!

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    1. I almost fell off my desk chair when I read that Paul :) It's weird the adrenalin rush never gets less even if you're lucky to see them quite a bit.

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  3. I get that rush EVERY time, Doug, and I always will. The Barn Owl is the most majestically beautiful, British delight. Photographing them is my obsession and passion. I'm with Paul on this one!

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    1. It's a healthy habit that's for sure 100% agree with your comment, shorties are great, but my mate Ben took his dad once to watch Short eared Owls (his dad ain't a birder) he was more happy when he saw a Barn Owl as he had always wanted to see one when he was young, they have a hold on all sorts of people..

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