Today, I am going to take you back to India and to a type of Birds of Prey, that I have a real soft spot for, Owls. Who knows what it is about this family of birds, that every wildlife photographer who I speak to, agrees, we love photographing owls. We might not always actively seek them out (barring a few Owl nutters), but when we stumble upon them in the field, you just have to chase a good photo.
On one of the days during my trip to the Tadoba-andhari Tiger Reserve in India, I told the driver and naturalist that we would not chase Tiger for a whole day and would only photograph birds and the smaller creatures. The look of panic and shock that I fleetingly saw in their eyes was a surprise. Did nobody ever do that? No, was the resounding answer. I sat for a minute and explained to them that I was primarily a birding man and also we discussed the importance of documenting the entire trip. I even took a photo of them standing alongside the clapped-out old Gypsey jeep for my records. They were convinced.
It did take some reminding, to get them to slow down and not to focus on the routine of rushing from waterhole to waterhole (damn the tigers love of water, so un-catlike). And so the day progressed and consisted of me stopping them near large thickets of bamboo or trees, and just listening and looking for all things feathered. Countless other Jeeps would stop alongside, eager to hear the Tiger news, to only see me photographing feathered critters. A quick shrug of the shoulder and they were gone, and usually with the bird, which was traumatised by all the attention.
After that my guide kept us on the lesser used roads and the traffic eased, meaning that the bird photography got better. On one occasion we came into a large grouping of tall trees with a small river than passed through beneath them, and for a change, I spotted the shape on the branch. I already had several Brown fish owl photos (but only environmental photos) so wanted a few more close up ones. Just have to love the yellow eyes against the brown plumage.
Species: B. zeylonensis