It was eight years since I had last seen Long Eared Owls up in the Pennine Hills. Paul Foster had found them and I was privileged to have seen this elusive owl hunting over it’s territory up on the moors. Out of the blue Paul recently rang me to say he had been back to the location to discover that the Long Eared Owls were still about and also there was a barn owl in the vicinity.
So I met up with Paul around tea time and we traveled up to the location. I could not yet walk too far or over very rough ground so I parked myself at a gateway at the end of the track up onto the moors. Paul was behind a stone wall about a hundred yards away. We both had good views over the area where Paul had recently seen the owls hunting. It was a dry pleasant evening but was cool up on the moors.
Nothing much happened until around seven o’clock when Paul whistled to tell me he had spotted something. I couldn’t see anything but then suddenly this barn owl appeared and was flying right towards me. I had difficulty locking onto the owl but eventually managed a couple of shots as it flew over my head. Unfortunately having seen me it backtracked and Paul wasn’t able to get any shots.
Better was to come however when around 7.30pm an owl flew onto a fence post about seventy yards below me. It didn’t see me and I fired off plenty of shots as it perched actively looking for prey. Once more Paul unfortunately didn’t see the bird as it was below his line of sight and hidden from view. As we were packing up another long eared owl appeared on a fence post on a level with me and I very quickly managed a few shots.
Paul was on his way back to me and couldn’t focus quickly enough to get a shot. I understand he has since returned and got some images. Having shown the images to an expert he says these are two different birds ,the paler one is a young bird probably from last year and the browner looking bird is an adult owl. I had been lucky to be in the right spot at the right time. Stay tuned for more wildlife from my camera and thanks for looking in.