Last Saturday St Agnes Photoclub members descended on Screech Owl Sanctuary to have a guided tour of some of the owls who reside there. Mark Whittaker, one of the keepers at the Sanctuary and a keen wildlife photographer himself, met us and immediately took us outside to see Fluffy the barn owl flying.
The heavens opened, as seems fairly normal at the moment, and flying was curtailed (owls aren’t waterproof as this would make their feathers noisy in flight and therefore no good for stealth preying) so we went inside to the education centre where we met a couple of eight week old Ural owlets, who were very large, cute and fluffy but also very naughty.
The rain stopped again so Mark took us behind the scenes to the hospital to see two of his new baby owls, of different breeds, who he is hand rearing as their parents are unable to rear them themselves.
Then Mark took us outside again and brought us out a succession of beautiful owls and a buzzard, telling us about each of them and the Sanctuary’s involvement in rare breeds programs whilst we took photos of them. Most of them were so used to paparazzi attention, it was quite hard to capture them staring down your lens!
Mark then left us to watch another flying display and have a wander around the Sanctuary, seeing the other animals too. I was particularly taken by the Meer Cats and the cafe is pretty good too!
We had a brilliant morning out. It was great to meet and photograph so many owls and hear about the amazing job the Sanctuary does in rehabilitating and rehoming injured and mistreated owls and assisting in world breeding programs. We’re hoping Mark will come to an evening meeting next Spring to talk to us about his wildlife photography, which we’re very much looking forward to.