As Jen re-opened the living-room curtains immediately after sunset, now we would no longer be blinded by the setting sun, she spotted the barn owl hunting in the field out front. I grabbed my camera and ran sock-footed across the lawn, fumbling with dim-light aperture-, shutter-, and ISO-settings as I went. Might today be the day I finally got some photos?
The owl was heading back up the field towards me. No time to confirm my settings, I fired away. It passed close by me, then doubled back and headed down the field once more, hunting back and forth along the edge of the bridleway. It then headed along the wall to the north, banking left into the next field.
I watched it swoop and hover in the distance, then drop. It was down on the ground for a good ten seconds before launching back into the air and making a bee-line for the hayloft above the mistal at the Farm. As it passed close by, I could clearly see the dead rodent in its right talon. A couple more hurried shots, and the magnificent apparition was gone.
“…wonderful. Science and history and geography and evolution and culture all tangled up in musings while walking about the moors around Hebden Bridge.”—PZ Myers
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