Each year, Cumbria Wildlife Trust run a photography competition, choosing 12 winners from the entries to make up their annual Calendar. I’ve been honoured that for the last three years one of my images has made it on to the Calendar, but this year due to my Mum’s continuing severe ill health I nearly missed the deadline as my mind was elsewhere. In fact by July I’d forgotten that I’d even entered the competition, so was absolutely thrilled this week when I received notification that one of my images had once again been chosen.
The photograph is of a wild Tawny Owl roosting in a tree. As I mentioned in this post, one of my favourite walks with my little dog is down by the river and we park up to access the public footpath in a tiny pull-in off a country road. A few feet away is a large tree and last year I spotted the Tawny Owl snoozing in a hole in the sunshine.
It seemed totally unfazed by the passing traffic or the slam of my car door and I stood there watching it transfixed. Despite living in a very rural area this was the first time I had ever seen a wild Owl, though I often hear the ‘e-EEEEE’ screech of the Tawny female followed by the ‘hoooooo’ of the answering male in the night (it is not, in reality, a ‘t-wit’ ‘t-woo’ call).
For months I saw ‘Terrence the Tawny’ as I nicknamed him in my head (though of course she could be a Teresa!) and as I didn’t seem to be disturbing him one day I took along my camera and tripod and took a few snaps.
In April this year ‘Terence’ disappeared and a pair of nesting Jackdaws took over the hole. For several weeks the Owl was absent and I naturally assumed he had succumbed to a deadly fate……………until the start of July when he was spotted again, sunbathing in his roost. Hurrahhhhh!
Cumbria Wildlife Trust is a charity. There is no huge prize on offer, although the winner of the member’s vote wins £100 of camera gear, so entrants are basically giving away their images for free. But it’s something I’m more than happy to do to support all the volunteers who spend their time caring for the wildlife to which I feel so inexorably connected. The 2022 Calendar will be on sale from the Cumbria Wildlife Trust online shop from October – please buy a copy and support this vital charity.