A watery winter sun warmed the westward woods
but no birdsong burst from the bare branched birches.
Hawthorn hedges were hidden in the haze,
yet a feathered fiend had fixed his gaze.
Stiff, silent trees were standing stark;
wide eyes were watching, waiting.
Suddenly from his nest,
over frosty fields,
came the barn owl
and still no sound
he dived to the ground,
then soared high again,
caught in his claws his catch.
Heading back from whence he came,
silently sweeping through the sky,
flew with his famished family’s feast.
Yet still no whisper from the waiting woods,
the sun sank sadly ‘neath the skies in the west.
Silence, save for sounds of scrunching from the owl ‘s nest.
Inspired by photographing my friend’s artwork that she painted in acrylics from a picture in the RSPB magazine
Barn owl Tyto alba hunting at sunset over Thornham/Titchwell marshes as viewed from the footpath at Titchwell RSPB reserve
Another painting of the same scene, but in oils and bronze by Mark William Chapman, I found on the internet, presumably based on the same photo, which is up for sale at £1000 (http://www.artgallery.co.uk/work/47277) although he says he saw this owl hunting for food in the New Forest!