Saturday, 7 June 2014

Annette and I live on the Shotley Peninsula, a triangle of land between the Rivers Orwell and Stour. We call it Mesopotamia, following the Ancient Greek meaning of the word and because it sounds exotic. It really is exotic in one sense: the wildlife abounds. We have no golden eagles or red squirrels, sadly, but we have most other birds and mammals, including otters, badgers, polecats, buzzards - the list is long. I like taking photos of my fellow creatures and have managed a barn owl this summer, both in flight and standing on a branch looking at me as if I were an alien. Owls are difficult, being around mostly in twilight when the light is poor, so often the photo is too fuzzy and out of focus. I have photos of four different little owls which are absolutely useless, even though it took lots of patience and many visits to take them. Yesterday at dusk however, Annette and I went for a long walk along the banks of the Stour, looking for little owls. What we found - having seen none for years - was a whole colony of hares. There are those who will tell you I have an obsession with hares and even follow the ancient Iceni practice of deifying them. The above photo is one of several taken at the going down of the sun and the close of the day. On the way home, guess what, sitting on top of a telephone pole was the one bird I had been trying to get forever. Annette sat in the car in extreme agitation on the bend of a narrow rural road, the hazard lights blinking, as I leapt from the vehicle to take the above picture. He looked at me as if he were posing for the front of a mag.

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