I took a lovely midweek evening stroll in the Goyt Valley, Derbyshire and was really on the lookout for Spotted Flycatchers and other breeding activity of our Summer migrants. I didn't see any Spotted Flycatchers, but did see a pair or Redstart and other Warblers and Tree Pipits. All seemed to be pretty busy and bird song was at minimum. Calling Cuckoos in the near distance was a real bonus, as was this Tawny Owl that I took by surprise.
When I'm out on my birding walks I don't walk particularly fast or make a lot of noise, as I like to use all my senses to notice things. Eyes can pick up any slight movement in the trees or distance and my ears are quite good at picking out the quietest of rustles. If I move too quickly I can can miss something of interest. So I take my time and enjoy the nature that surrounds me. It wasn't intentional, but by doing what I do I got a fantastic view of a Tawny Owl. It wasn't for long, but long enough for me to spot it 30 yards away and to set the camera up.
It didn't see or hear me coming and was quite happy watching the forest before it turned it's head. I managed a couple of pictures before it did.
It heard the camera click and turned to look at me. At first it wasn't sure where the noise had come from, so I managed a few more shots.
It headed off to the safety of the forest not long after. If I had raced through and been a bit louder with my shuffling feet I may have alerted it to my presence before I even got a chance to see it. So high five to me and my stealthy approach to birding. On this occasion it paid off.