30 November 2018

As we drove up the hill shortly before sunrise this morning, we spotted a barn owl hunting in the field below the Farm. It was flying low over the tall, dense vegetation of the manure mound. The white undersides of its rounded wings flashed bright against the muted backdrop. A pair of crows were mobbing the poor creature for the sheer hell of it. I’ve never seen a barn owl around here before. There are tawny and little owls aplenty, and short-eared owls on the Moor, but a barn owl was a real, unexpected treat. I wonder if it’s taken up residence in the barn or one of the mistals at the Farm. Wouldn’t that be something?

A walk around the lanes late morning to mull stuff over. The low sun was casting a strong sidelight on what is, according to meteorological convention, the last day of autumn. Good photography weather. I took a few nice shots.

Back at the house, I spotted a brambling on the bird table. Beautiful little birds. I spent most of last winter keeping my eyes peeled for them in among the chaffinches, finally to be rewarded with my first ever sighting in late March. It looks as if they’ve arrived nice and early this winter. Hopefully I’ll be seeing a lot more of them over the next few months.

Male brambling
Male brambling (photographed last winter)

By Richard Carter

Richard Carter is a writer and photo­grapher living in Hebden Bridge, West Yorkshire. Website · Facebook · Twitter · Newsletter · Book

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