Monday, 14 June 2010

An Evening To Remember

Twelve months ago I had visited a site on the moors above Burnley to observe and photograph Long Eared Owls. This owl is notoriously difficult to photograph as it very much a nocturnal creature and is rarely seen out and about when conditions are favourable for photography. I did have views of the owl last year but it was always distant and usually in poor light. Last week I again visited the location with Mike and Paul. Paul Foster had recently been having excellent views of the LEO's as they hunted the moors in good light and had obtained some lovely images of both the male and female.
We met up around seven on a bright and fresh evening and the layers went on as it was cool up on the moors. The owls had been successful in rearing young in a nearby conifer wood and were being kept busy obtaining food for the hungry youngsters. It wasn't long before we saw the first owl as it came up on the moor to hunt and for the next couple of hours or so we were treated to some wonderful views as the owls went about their hunting duties. I managed to obtain some quite decent images of the action and some of them are shown above.
The Long Eared Owls were not all we saw on this memorable evening and just as we were thinking of leaving a Roebuck appeared and gave us more photographic opportunities. Finally as we returned to the cars we saw a couple of fallow deer at the roadside and we again took advantage of another excellent bit of luck. These fallow deer did look a little out of place up on the moors and we came to the conclusion that they may have escaped from a local collection as they were fairly tame and allowed  a close approach. It was still light as we left for home after what had indeed been a wonderful evening's wildlife watching up in the Lancashire Pennines. I have posted some action shots of the hunting owls and the surprise roe and fallow deer. 


  1. Great photos of the Leo and Deer Brian,love the ones of the Owl hovering,I`m still waiting for that one!

  2. Almost speechless Brian, nothing new to say about this level of photography....WOW!!

    You're having some truly wonderful experiences and opportunities and making the very best of them all.

    Kind Regards.

  3. Hi Brian, Brilliant pictures! You did better than me, I saw a Long Eared Owl and I did not have my camera with me:-( Last week I was in County Durham for a week. On Saturday (12/6) We were driving to Grassholme reservoir and we were on Grassholme Lane when we saw an owl sitting on a stone wall, it flew onto the ground the otherside of the wall, so I got out of the car and had a look over the wall. The owl was on the ground and I would say it was a juvenile Long Eared Owl as it did not have enough strength to fly off the ground more than three feet. It was a beautiful owl and it was such a surprise. BBC Wildlife mag. (July issue) has an article about the Long Eared Owl saying it is Britain's forgotten owl. Grassholme Lane runs along side a coniferous forest. Also, about half-an-hour before seeing this owl, I saw a Little Owl at Balderhead reservoir. Never go out without a camera I keep telling myself, one day I will learn.

  4. Just having a tour of your incredible owl photographs Brian. The first two shots here are THE best that I have ever seen anywhere. I absolutely love them to the point that I nearly stopped breathing. The fact that it is a LEO just makes them even more special. That is the standard by which owl shots are now measured.

    Simply said: Wow!