A twitcher – that’s a bird-watcher to me and you – was looking out for a magnificent and rare eagle-owl in the Netherlands when he got a massive shock.
The bird he was looking out for came really close to him! Too close, in fact – it landed on the back of his head, as a colleague captured the moment on camera.
The wildlife photographers travelled to the town of Hilversum in the Netherlands after hearing that a large Eurasian eagle-owl, usually only spotted in remote forests, had been seen on the roof of a house near some playing fields.
One photographer was so busy looking through his camera lense that he didn’t notice the bird was making a beeline for his head.
Chris Meewis, who took the photo, told the Daily Mail: “We were all there waiting to see if we could spot this owl and photographers had come from all over to see it as it is a really magnificent bird.
“It was supposed to be living on the roof of this house near some playing fields and everyone had set up their cameras but were yet to spot it. Suddenly out of nowhere this huge shape appeared and landed on one of the photographer’s heads.
“It was so funny as all of the cameras suddenly turned on him. There he was thinking he was the one taking the picture and suddenly he finds himself the centre of one! Everyone was laughing but he was in complete shock and just stood there very still.”
The owl stayed on the man’s head for 10-15 seconds before swooping off. Luckily, the unnamed man was not hurt, he just had a few light scratches.
This is surprising, as the owl has very long talons that could cause a lot of damage.
Mr. Meewis didn’t bring his professional camera with him – just his small digital one, so was happy to have snapped such good shots.
He told the Mail: “I was really chuffed that I got the best picture of the owl on his head. There were all these photographers there with their huge cameras and big lens and then I managed to get the best picture with my little compact camera – I was quite surprised.
“When I got home to show my family and friends, everyone laughed so much at the picture, some people thought I had messed with the picture in Photoshop but it was real.
“It was just a shame that I only got one picture of the moment, but the bird appeared so quickly and was gone so quickly that no one really had time, so I should consider myself lucky.”
This article was first published by The Telegraph on 27 Nov 2015.