Rann Diaries - the Barnie and the Eagles

Gujarat diaries so far...

Continuing the story or probably the highlight from the Rann as we drove deeper into the Rann, Pratap bhai and I sighted some blackish aberrations on the ground, a far distance away. A little further and we realized there were aquilans on the ground, four in total with a small object in between.

(the four Aquilans and the Barnie!)

We stopped at a distance (when we saw the eagles were aware of our arrival), quite far from where we could see 4 of them on the ground and an object in between them. Surprised and happy at the same time to see so many of them together, we were probing into what was the object in between. The eagle's are more or less identified as a combination of Greater Spottee Eagle and Steppe Eagles.

(Steppe Eagle)

We never figured out till the object moved its head and Pratap bhai noticed it and shouted Owl, Owl. What! I refused to believe stating it couldn’t be and it was a piece of stone or rock, but as I was uttering and watching through the binoculars, the object moved again.

(in the middle of nowhere...)

Ah! I was wrong and pretty surprised in seeing an owl in the middle of Rann surrounded by eagles…! By now, the eagles were unhappy with our presence (we were quite far still) and took off one by one soaring high into the sky and vanished without a trace.

The owl was still on the ground with its head lowered and looked lost or probably had lost hopes of survival or probably was being chased by the eagles or probably had fallen off in flight due to exhaustion, I’ll never know!!!

(a distant shot from the jeep - notice the angle)

By now, we had figured out it was indeed a Barn Owl that looked like an object surrounded by the eagles. We came closer and the Barnie was still and unmoved. We were about a distance of 30m and yet the Barnie was still and unmoved, meditating with its eyes closed.

(a closer look again from the jeep)

Now, I got off the jeep and wore the protective gear for the elbows, changed the settings in the camera and yet the owl showed no signs of movement! I went flat on the ground and inching closer to it got as close as 10-15m and yet it remained still.

(closest view, shot lying on the ground - notice the angle)

After the shoot, I woke up, retreated and now doubted whether the owl was well or in a semi conscious state of shock. I walked straight up to it slowly and then as I was close, it flew off much to my relief and then sat again a little distance away.

Sensing, it would be dehydrated, we left a little pool of water closer to it on a piece of foil sheet closer to it and left the scene.

(parting shot...the Barnie!)

What was the Barnie doing in the middle of Rann, how did it reach? What happened later are some questions that I have no clue about and best left unanswered.

On field, some incidents never fail to amaze you much to your disbelief.

Coming next… the Ass story…!