1 EAGLETON NOTES: Owls and a Sad State of Affairs

.

.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Owls and a Sad State of Affairs

When I was in Glasgow a few weeks ago Anna and I went to her local garden centre.  At the entrance was a young lady with some owls: an obvious photo opportunity as everyone scurried back to their cars for their cameras.  As I raised my camera I was immediately asked not to take photos because there was a little girl in the vicinity.  As I was actually taking closeups without any children in shot I was a bit taken aback.  All the more so because none of the other photographers who were all standing further back and mostly using point and shoot cameras which were likely to be including the children were being asked to desist.  Then I noticed that I was the only male taking photos.  The matter was easily sorted when I assured the parents and asked if they had any objection.  They seemed quite non-plussed and said they certainly didn't.  A donation towards the birds' feeding expenses seemed to make the handler happy too.

It made me feel very sad though that the world has come to that.  It also made me realise just how different Britain and New Zealand are.  No one would have batted an eyelid in New Zealand where every school play and event is still captured on a hundred cameras and video recorders.

Little Owl: the smallest British owl at 22cm (8 1/2")
So alert
Hands to give an idea of just how small the owl is.
Look at the eyes
This is his left eye closeup
An Eagle Owl.  At 71 cm (28") this beauty is capable of taking a Roe Deer or a Capercaillie 
I wonder what he's thinking.
Barn Owl. 34 cm (13 1/2") I should think this is Britain's most common owl.  It's call is a blood-curdling screech but it can also hiss, snore and bark.
I apologise for the burn-out on the face but all my full-body shots were the same.
Such inquisitive and all-seeing eyes 

27 comments:

  1. What lovely pictures. That eye looks as if it could see right through to your sole. What a wonderful day out you had.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm so sorry Spesh but you have made me laugh a good hearty belly-laugh. The idea of an owl looking through my shoes has just tickled me pink. I'm so glad that it's not just me that makes booboos like that occasionally especially given that you are such a superb speller. I'll put it down to all the travelling you've just done. Thanks for the compliment about the photos though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oooopppps! "SOUL" Is that better? Shame on me! Put it down to all that travel and very hot sun. Happy to give you such a laugh - even made myself laugh at the conjured up picture - and you know that I do not "do" laughing in the mornings! x

      Delete
  3. oh, I was thinking of a fish when I read 'sole', but I wasn't going to say anything since I don't know Spesh. I love the pictures of the small owl; I guess that I didn't realize that some were that little.
    speaking of photographing children, it's the same here. it's so sad how society has changed till we fear so much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The Pygmy Owl is even smaller Norma but we don't get it in the UK.

      Delete
  4. So, so beautiful, Graham! Quite a gift, I'd say. I love hearing owls at night talk to one another. Soothing for me, not so much for little creatures.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Too true Lisa. They are quite fearsome hunters. Why is it that we forgive creatures we perceive as being beautiful (such as owls) when they hunt and kill and yet despise Crows and the like because they, too, kill but in a way we perceive to be unpleasant?

      Delete
  5. These are superb shots. I always feel privileged when I get close to these wonderful birds.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Adrian. At that distance I'd have been hard pressed no to have had some good ones.

      Delete
  6. Beautiful photos. Love the reflections in the close up of the eye. As for photographing/videoing school events. I notice that is changing in Auckland and it's more to do with money than privacy, you're expected to buy the "official" video of every school concert/show. Thank heavens we are still way behind the times here!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As we are in Napier I'm pleased to say Pauline.

      Delete
  7. All of these are so beautiful! Somehow, owls are in their very own league, aren't they; when I think of owls, I never think "birds", I really think "owls".
    You are right about how sad it is that you can't even take a picture without being suspected of god knows what, simply because there are children nearby. Germany is even worse, I guess. But none of that paranoia was in evidence last Sunday at the horse market parade in my town; people (children included!) were parading through town in the full view of thousands of spectators, at least half of which were busily using their cameras.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree completely Meike. "Owls is Owls". "Birds is Birds". That's just the way it is. One day I had my camera in my hand taking photos of some boats when a family came towards me: Mum and Dad and a girl of perhaps six or seven (I'm not good at ages and memory has dimmed a bit). The girl had long red hair and was perhaps 15 metres in front of her parents as she walked towards me. She was stunning and gave me the most beautiful smile as she walked past and had I pressed the shutter I would have got a photo that would have been one of those ones you dream of capturing once in a lifetime and her parents would have had it on a wall and every Christmas Card that year. But I didn't have the courage to press the shutter without permission and the moment was gone. Lost like raindrops in a pond.

      Delete
  8. I loved the owl photos, since I've never seen one close up, only from afar.
    I am a bit saddened though to see them being held in captivity like that. I thought owls were nocturnal and slept during the day. Isn't that some kind of animal abuse?
    I try not to include folks in my photos except I ask first, with the exception being a crowd. Everyone is quite paranoid these days, especially how easy it is to post on Facebook, Twitter, BB and such.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I understand that they are rescue owls though I'm not sure why the Eagle Owl was a rescue one. Like you I don't like birds in captivity. In fact I don't like anything in captivity as a rule. One of the most haunting memories I have is of a Condor in a cage at a Bird of Prey centre and I just couldn't accept that a bird that has the freedom of the skies above the Andes should be confined like that.

      Delete
  9. Virginia, some owls are nocturnal, but not all. The barn owl would usually be out and about from twilight on, but the other two I'm pretty sure would be natural daytime hunters.
    The situation with the photographs, well, yes, it just gets worse and worse here doesn't it. Unfortunately it's mostly perpetuated by those who say things like "Oh you can't take photos of anyone without their permission" which is absolutely as far from true as you can get, in the UK at least!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Robyn the Eurasian Eagle Owl and the Little Owl are principally nocturnal hunters but do occasionally appear during the day to hunt.
      You are right about people having this idea that you need permission to take a photo. However many public places now have notices prohibiting photography. One problem is the distinction between public places like the streets and what most people think of as public places (like bus stations and shopping malls etc) which are actually in law private places to which the public have access. Whichever we are just becoming paranoid to a ridiculous degree.

      Delete
    2. Thanks Robyn for clarifying for me. I still don't like them being harnessed like that. They are rescue owls as GB stated, but photo ops should not overshadow what's best for the birds. Maybe I worry too much.

      Delete
  10. These are wonderful images. It is sad that the world has become so frantic about everything, but it's true. Honestly, in a public area, there really aren't any limitations to taking photographs but to have respect where children are concerned is a priority. I'm glad that it all worked out for you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Heather. I just find attitudes to life so frustrating at times.

      Delete
  11. I agree with Meike about owls, they are indeed in a league of their own among birds. That little one is so cute... And the Eagle one I'd call majestic! The enlarged eye with the reflection still kind of freaks me out - you already know why, but for the amusement of other readers: I first looked at this post on my phone last night, and not-sure-how but managed by mistake to download that image as background on my phone. I was too tired to sort it out before going to sleep... Then by morning I had forgotten all about it, and got a bit of a shock when I turned my phone on and a that big eye was the first thing I saw!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree with your descriptions entirely Monica. I think waking up to the eye was so funny. I think I'd have freaked out too.

      Delete
  12. Oh, and it is indeed sad that you were asked not to take photos while others with cameras were not met with the same objection. One would think that in this case it would be obvious that it was the owls that were the likely camera target...
    I love it when I can manage "anonymous" people photos though. From a distance, as silhouettes, in a crowd at a public event etc I don't see any harm in it. (But of course being behind the camera one knows one's own intent with the photos - while the people in front of it don't...)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, Monica, it was pretty obvious that I was being discriminated against because I was male.

      Delete
  13. Seen enough recently to realize the risks of Internet photos but happy kids in public places is hardly a risk... My friend got a lot of flak when she posted pix on facebook of her kids in a school concert. Formal warning from school after some parents complained. Nuts but paranoia reigns.
    Love the owls. Never hear them here :(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope that is just a 'Christchurch' thing Fi. Given that many of the children seem to post school photos on Facebook these days that surprises me.

      Delete
  14. Wow, these owl photos are incredible. The close-up of the eye with the figures outined inside it, that is really something.

    ReplyDelete