Thursday, 22 March 2007

Snowy Owl, Borve, Isle of Lewis, Outer Hebrides, Scotland 22nd March 2007

I was off work with three very badly damaged fingers after they had been guillotined whilst dismantling a front porch. I was lucky not to lose all three, but for some superb surgery by the consultant at Lancaster Royal Infirmary. Hazel was on holiday at the same time, when news came in that a Snowy Owl was on the Isle of Lewis, in the Outer Hebrides.
Now although my fingers were in aluminium splints to stop me bending them, the pull of this bird was tremendous. Add to that, an American Herring Gull had been seen in Stornaway Harbour, near the fish merchants, so hopefully we could be in for a good trip.
'Come on, lets go' I said to Hazel, and within an hour we were heading north to Skye.
We arrived at Uig and waited for the ferry to Stornaway. We arrived at dusk and headed straight to Borve, to see if we could see it. A distant pale Owl could be seen quartering in the distance.
Well at least we've seen it. Hopefully tomorrow, we could get some images. We stopped off at Martin Scotts house to get some information, and he was more than helpful.
The next day, we drove down to the harbour to try and find the American Herring Gull. It was there, stood on the harbour feasting on fish scraps. Iceland Gulls were also plentiful.

Whilst in the town I took an opportunity to photograph a Hooded Crow.

We then headed towards Borve, and changed into our waterproofs and boots, as the terrain was boggy and saturated.
The Snowy Owl could be seen distantly, so we crept along the dykes out of site towards the it whilst it sat on the field.
We looked over the top of where we were and stood right in front of us was a superb female Snowy Owl. I slowly raised my camera to get a record shot.

The shutter went off, the owl looked at us, then flew 20 foot away. I photographed it again, then left it in peace.

We walked back to the car, and as we got there, a car pulled up behind. The driver got out and we recognised the bloke as Martin Scott, who'd given us some info the previous evening. He asked us what we had been doing, and we explained that I'd photographed the owl. Martin laughed and asked why we'd spent all that time yomping across moorland. We said cause thats where the bird was. He asked us to look at theblue coal bags in the distance. So we did, and there on the right hand edge of the bags, was another female Snowy Owl. Two female Snowy Owls divided by a fence. Unreal. It got better by the second.
So with that, I set off to try and photograph the second bird. I left my tripod at the car, and crept towards the sleeping owl. It never moved a muscle, even when a sheep charged towards it. It simply opened iteyes at sat there motionless.