I recently booked a last-minute trip to Guernsey in the hope of photographing Long Eared Owl’s. LEO’s are incredibly rare in the UK and a beautiful owl that I have wanted to see and photograph for a long time. Earlier in the year I had started chatting a fellow photographer on one of the forums I follow who had some stunning images of these birds. After discussion it turned out that if you know where to look, they can be found in Guernsey and he kindly offered to show me around when they turned up if I wanted to make the short flight over from Southampton.
With only a weeks’ notice I got a ping from him saying that there were some chicks that were reliably showing and so I booked up a flight and night in a local hotel with my fingers crossed they were still going to be there when I got over and that the weather would play nice.
As the build up to the weekend progressed the forecast got progressively worse and force 7 winds were predicated which is not conducive to particularly great flying or photography conditions. As it happened despite the wind the flight was very smooth and credit to the pilot who skilfully landed us in Guernsey with barely a bump despite the crops in the adjacent fields were nearly horizontal with the wind.
I met with Dan on arrival at the airport and he gave me a full tour of the island. We were very lucky to see all 3 of the chicks which were in different stages of development from the most mature who looked very much like the adults with its full tufts and the youngest who hadn’t grown any yet.
We spent several hours that evening still battling with the wind and glare from the bright sunshine watching these chicks calling continually for food. We never saw the adult birds and as the sun began to set, we moved on in search of Barn Owls. To cap the day off we saw 3 barneys hunting in a field until the light was completely gone.
The next morning was an early start to go back to the barney location and this time we had 4 hunting around us and a wonderful moment where 2 landed in the field next to where we were sitting with their breakfast which they proceeded to eat in front of us.
Back to the airport and another easy flight and I was sat at home processing my images by 9.30 that morning. All in all, a wonderful visit and some great experiences with these beautiful birds. I even came away with a few pictures I’m happy with to remember the experience by. A big thanks to Dan for giving me the opportunity and for showing me around.
I will certainly be keeping an eye out for when they return for another opportunity to go back and photograph them again.!
Below are a few images from the trip.