Close encounters of the Barn Owl kind!
I've been debating the best way to go about sharing these pictures, as there are so many stunning moments that I wanted to make sure I do them justice. I'd normally put my favourite shot first...but I genuinely can't pick one, so here's a gallery instead!
I arrived late morning with the wind and rain battering the south coast, and for a good couple of hours I hadn't sighted anything noteworthy. However, the afternoon forecast was good and as the winds dropped and the sun came out things changed.
The resident female Barn Owl came out to play and was feeding for a good 40 minutes in the far side of the field. She was then disturbed by the two Short Eared Owls that are currently visiting the area, which worked in my favour as she came to feed not 5 metres away (which is how the amazing set of photos above came about)!
The Shorties had a few skirmishes but weren't around for long. I wonder whether they've been feeding better than the Barn Owl so didn't need to stick around so long. They did have a couple of aerial duels which gave me some opportunities for a couple of different photos.
Just when I thought the day couldn't get any better a Kestrel decided to hunt nearby. She only gave me a brief glimpse but stayed long enough to get a couple of shots.
So, all in all it was a day to remember. I went for the Shorties, came away with the Barn Owl.