Close encounter of a natural kind

Thursday, August 02, 2018

A couple of nights ago we took an evening walk in the cooling air as the sun slipped lower on the horizon. With light levels fading by the minute I declined to bring along my camera in favour of free hands as the quality of shots would be too poor to bother with anyway. As we strolled I declared to C that as we had no way of capturing anything we'd be in for a treat of a sighting. That's just the way life works.
A few minutes later, bang on cue, we spotted a barn owl hunting the field who's perimeter our path followed. It's mind was on seeking out dinner. We stood and watched.
It flew into a neighbouring field and we carried on our way.

A little further along the route we spotted it return to our field and pursued it's low flight over the grass. As the beautiful beast flew closer in it's sweeping of the meadow I realised I was holding my breath to remain as quiet as possible in order not to distract or disturb it. Still as statues we stood, eyes left, eyes right. While it was a good distance off I whispered to C to ask whether he thought it could hear our hearts beating. I wonder if it's true that they detect prey through hearing heartbeats?

At it's closest the barn owl must have only been 15 feet away, utterly astonishing. It definitely clocked us but ascertained we posed no threat and continued on with it's mission as the sunrays dissolved through the lingering cloud.
The soundless flight was hypnotic to watch and the few minutes we spent watching were magical. A few dives to the ground didn't result in any catches except perhaps the very last in eyeshot by which time we were a long way off. If there was nothing to threaten the peace maybe the owl decided to eat it's meal in situ instead.

Have you been treated to a close encounter with nature?

Take care,

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