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The Pale Ghost of the Fen

I hope I’ve chosen the perfect spot, close to cover, out of sight and quiet, with a panoramic views across middle fen, in a favourite barn owl hunting area. Camera ready. Now it’s a case of patiently waiting and hoping that the owls choose to come out tonight.

After an hour, and with fading light, I begin to feel that luck is not on my side this evening, an ominous bank of cloud looms over the sunset threatening to deaden the light.

The barn owl appears so suddenly I think I’ve imagined it. It comes fast and silent directly over my head. Something, a vole most likely, catches its attention and it hovers so close that I believe I could almost touch it. There’s no time to react, any movement will spook it and I make a decision to watch and soak it in. The moment is fleeting, the owl soon decides that there are better hunting opportunities elsewhere.

No matter how dim the light, barn owls glow, like pale ghosts of the fen.

It is these encounters that sustain me and keep me going back, nourishing my love for the natural world and fueling my desire to photograph it in all its guises.

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