Six of us visited the Hawk Conservancy in Andover with a view to photographing birds of prey. Unlike many such displays, the Conservancy tries to create the world where the birds would be seen in their natural habitat. A display of vultures was set in a landscape complete with termite mounds and meerkats. The fish eagle flew in to take food from the surface of a pond as it would in the wild. The birds were spectacular but so fast, that getting a photograph was more down to luck and shooting in burst mode.
The highlight of the day was time spent in woodland with a tawny owl and a kestrel. The birds were put in natural settings such as the branch of a tree or a tree stump. The tawny owl decided to do its own thing. It was supposed to stay on a branch of a tree but no it flew off. It had heard a vole moving in the undergrowth and flew down to catch it. It took the prey to a tree stump and proceeded to eat it giving us great opportunities to photograph natural behaviour. The kestrel behaved perfectly giving opportunities for head and shoulder shots.
By Ken Lindup