This last winter was a special one. I finally ventured to Wallasea Island RSPB reserve to try and see the short-eared owls that everyone had been telling me about. After several failed attempts at Rainham Marshes, I thought I’d give it a go.
My first visit was pretty late in the day but as I was driving in, my first owl of the site flew over the car and along the embankment. Driving down towards the car park, a corn bunting sat in a tree very close to the road, oblivious to my taking photographs.
Once at the car park I walked up the bank and surveyed the reeds and grassland. I counted 4 owls. 4!?!?!? All distant for photos but brilliant to see. A barn owl and two hen harriers also showed up, all within the space of 30 minutes. I knew I needed to work this site out and come back.
Over the next month or two, I revisited, getting closer and closer to the owls, who often sat next to the road. As beautiful as they were, I never got the photos I wanted.
That is until I took the family.
We drove in that afternoon wondering how long we would have to wait and there it was, sitting right next to the road staring at us. The kids were so excited. We spent the next hour watching it hunt, at one point flying straight towards our car, looking straight at the lens.
Will definitely be going back each year to build on the photos but super happy with my first round. Gorgeous birds.