A close encounter with a Barn Owl

After a brilliant mornings jog through the Welsh countryside listening to the duets Willow Warbler and Chiffchaff filling the air, with Ravens and Buzzards soaring far above along with finding my first Wren nest of the year, I was in the perfect frame of mind for a spot of birding at Porth Colmon, a brilliant place for Seawatching with on my last visiting resulting in Fulmar, Kittiwake, Guillemot, Gannet and Manx Shearwater. But as AS exams are coming ever and ever closer I decided to put them first and get some Geology revision done. After a few hours of revision mum decided to take everyone for a drive down to lovely seaside town of Pwllheli.

Whilst we were driving down mum got a little bit lost, I didn’t notice, but what I did notice was mum shouting, ”O, O, O, Elliot what’s that?”, I looked ahead and saw a large brown bird of prey flying in the flying straight in front of the car and in the dead centre of the road! What could it be? The bird then twisted in mid-air and revealed itself to be a Barn Owl. Mum was in as much shock as me, a Barn Owl flying in the middle of the road and in the middle of the day!

Almost decent shot_edited-1

Nothings ever perfect_edited-1

I bolted over to the other side of the car climbing over my brother in the process unpacked and assembled my camera before leaning out of the window (car still moving) and started firing away hoping to get a decent shot of this once in a lifetime encounter. After pursuing the owl for a short while it then perched in the prefect lighting with the perfect background. I hopped out the car and started sneaking up on the Barn Owl using the bank as cover, but what do I hear? The call of Great Black-backed Gulls. I looked to my right to see a pair of these goliath gulls heading straight towards the Owl, the Owl had also picked up on this and realised what would happen if it got caught so made its away, flying off just getting out of reach of one of the black backs before heading off into a nearby field whilst being mobbed by a party of Pied Wagtails where I wasn’t able to relocate it. Probably the most adrenalin filling 5mins of my life!

Barn Owl in action_edited-1

Flying angel_edited-1

When we finally arrived at Pwllheli the day just got even better and better: It was cracking the flags with a cool coastal breeze, had my first fish & chips for long time and whilst walking along the beach I heard a familiar sound which I hadn’t heard for months, it was my first party of Sandwich Terns of the year with 4 birds flying right over me heading to Bardsey Island. A place which I’ll be visiting during the summer holidays for the first time.

Pwllheli Sandwich Terns_edited-1
My first Sandwich Tern of the year
Pwllheli Herring Gulls_edited-1
Those eagle eyed viewers amongst you will have spotted that the Herring Gull on the right has a metal ringed on its right leg. Disappointingly I was unable to read the code.
Bardsey Island_edited-1
Bardsey Island
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