Ten Years Ago

If you are a birder or a photographer, please don’t get excited – this bird was found ten years ago and the photographs were serendipitously resurfaced whilst I was cleaning out unrequired pictures from my too large digital archives.

The Northern Hawk Owl (Surnia ulula) is a very rare bird to be able to see around here – but ten years ago I heard on the grapevine that one had been seen along a road some half hour form where we live and although chasing birds by car is not a green way to go birding and not something that, for the most part, we do these days, J and I set off to see what we could see. Chances like this don’t often come in a lifetime and these wanderers from the far north are pretty wonderful.

We knew the road quite well, it is a part of our personal Christmas Bird Count route and it is heavily wooded so we expected to either not find the bird or to have to work really, really hard.

That day the Bird Gods were smiling on us – a kilometre down the road there is was. Sitting on a power pole and utterly unconcerned that we were bouncing up and down in excitement just below it. Hardly any effort needed.

For the record, this is not a black-and-white image – this is full colour!


  • Taken: 13 March, 2004
  • Camera: Canon EOS 20D
  • Focal length: 400mm
  • Aperture: ƒ/14
  • Exposure bias: -1/3EV
  • Shutter speed: 1/250s
  • ISO: 100