The Ultimate Challenge

August 24, 2019 at 8:04 pm

To me, this year, a photo of a hunting male Long Eared Owl represented the greatest challenge the high Pennines could offer. There are no short cuts and todays blog photo was accomplished after fifty nights in the hills spread over three months. Your first comments after admiring his eyes might be to ask the question – where are his long ears? These are only erected when the Owl is anxious, threatened or facing a human being. This Owl and the others in the gallery are totally relaxed, in full hunting mode and their ears are lying on the top of their head. In fact he is so used to my presence under the camouflage cloth that on one occasion he was going to alight on my head and only diverted when he was inches away.
I have always maintained that in wildlife photography your results are directly proportionate to the time that you put in. I watched this roosting Long Eared Owl for some nights and soon realised that when he started to hunt, at dusk, he would alight on fence posts that surrounded the forest. I lay hidden opposite these posts but did not know which one he would use. The gallery photos show him on several of these posts but I wanted something more photogenic so I carried a moss covered stump from deep in the forest and placed this in-between the fence and his roosting tree – but would he use it? At 7.10pm on the second night he alighted and I had my photos. I believe in the uniqueness of all my photos so the post has been removed and placed back in the forest to gain more moss in readiness for next year – bring it on!! Click here