Animals

By Bethany Gleave 


This is the moment a ‘trusting’ owl leaned its head towards its pal in a seeming bid to pose for the camera as the photographer has been following them for six years.

Barry Jackson, 45, has been visiting the former WWI aerodrome site in Essex routinely for years to photograph the owls, often beginning early in the morning and spending up to eight hours a day at the spot.

The amusing image shows one owl sat comfortably atop a post while another tries to get in on the photo, perching on the edge and thrusting his head to be alongside its pal like a human posing for a selfie.

PIC BY BARRY JACKSON/MERCURY PRESS

Engineer Barry believes the owls struck the pose because they have learnt to trust him after following them since they hatched.

Barry, from Chelmsford, Essex said: “It’s a really funny photo as it looks just like the one on the right is posing for the camera.

“The owls know I am here but don’t tend to see me as a threat.

“I think it’s because I spend so much time here and I have followed most of them since they hatched.

“That’s probably why they just looked straight at the lens and didn’t fly at me.

“We knew they trusted us when one of them swooped down quite close to us and grabbed a spider to eat.”

Stow Maries Great War Aerodrome in Essex is the world’s only complete first world war aerodrome in its original form and plays host to all sorts of wildlife in the old buildings on the site.

The owls are little owls, a small breed that was introduced to the UK in the 19th century.

PIC BY BARRY JACKSON/MERCURY PRESS

Barry said: “I’ve been following the owls at the aerodrome for the past six years.

“I often head up there before work but sometimes I can spend up to eight hours a day there watching the wildlife.

“The aerodrome is the only one of its kind, the site is on private land so I met up with the owner and we started to watch the wildlife together.

“A few years ago we put up some nesting boxes for the owls to use in the old buildings, but they were forced out by squirrels so there were no young owls born that year- which was a big shame really.

“Me and the land owner do a lot of watching from a hide or from my car.

“The owls aren’t native to the UK but they have been accepted as one of the most common breeds here.

“It’s almost like a selfie picture for Facebook. Little owls are full of character and are known for striking amusing poses but it was nice they trusted me so much to get close.”