As the year comes to an end it is a good time to reflect on the previous year and in my case what have been some of the ornithological highlights. My immediate thoughts go to Owls. These are difficult birds to see let alone photograph but this year has been good to me. It all started in May at Elmley National Nature Reserve in Kent. Reserve Manager Steve Gordon got me nice and close to a Short-eared Owl sitting on a post in steady rain. This bird was part of a great influx into the UK during the year.
|Great Grey Owl|
Later in the summer in July I was staying with my son Jeremy and his family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. This was my second visit here and I was anxious to catch up with some the owl species of the area which would be new to me. The local birding blogs are shy to provide details of owl sightings but one posting escaped the censor and I got a clue where to look. I tried the Grand Valley Road north-west of the city on three occasions without success. I was on the point of giving up when my Yankee pal Bob Abrams suggested I go at dawn. I did and enjoyed over an hour at close quarters with a marvellous Great Grey Owl.
|Juvenile Scops Owl|
|Great Horned Owl|
If you add to these experiences my best ever view of an European Eagle Owl (sadly the light was too poor for a photograph) in France then my year with owls was almost complete. Christmas Day is looking up.