Farmer Fred snaps Barn Owls for calendar

PUBLISHED: 09:53 30 January 2008 | UPDATED: 10:01 04 May 2010

The Barn Owls

The Barn Owls

MEPAL farmer Ed Frear spent hours lying in a disused chicken coop to snatch a picture of three baby Barn Owls as they prepared to make their maiden flight. And his patience paid off when his photograph beat 30,000 others to win a place in the BBC s Countr

MEPAL farmer Ed Frear spent hours lying in a disused chicken coop to snatch a picture of three baby Barn Owls as they prepared to make their maiden flight.

And his patience paid off when his photograph beat 30,000 others to win a place in the BBC's Countryfile Calendar.

Ed's photo, called Three Wise Owls, shows the birds framed in the broken windows of an old barn.

It was chosen to represent December in the 2008 calendar which is being sold in aid of the BBC's Children in Need appeal.

Ed, 59, of Meadow Way, took up photography just two years ago but has always had a love of birds and nature.

To snap his winning photo he left his home at 7am three mornings a week for two months and spent two hours lying in the broken down chicken coop facing the old barn.

After the five baby owls hatched he gained their trust, creeping into the shed to take photos of them.

"As long as they knew I was in that old chicken coop they were quite relaxed," he said. "They would fly backwards and forwards.

"But when I moved into a big clump of weeds to get closer, I sat there for 45 minutes and nothing happened. I realised the old barn owl was sitting in a big walnut tree watching me. When I moved back into the chicken coop they started flying backwards and forwards again. It's a case of humans existing alongside nature."

Ed submitted his winning photo just three days before the competition's closing deadline.

When he was chosen as one of the 12 winners for the calendar, a Countryfile team visited him to record a video diary which was featured on the programme.

Pic cap: The thee wise owls pictured as they prepare for their maiden flight.

Ed Frear spent hours lying in a chicken coop to get his image.

Photos: SUPPLIED and HELEN DRAKE.

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