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An unexpected encounter

text and photos by Roberto Lisignoli

A morning free of commitments, so what shall we do? For me a quiet stroll in the silence of nature always suits. So off I head, with the woods calling. And of course I take my trusty camera along for the ride. "I won&´t be out for long" I consider, but you never know. After a few minutes walking at a brisk enough pace, I reach a clearing occupied by ancient chestnut trees. I sit within the stillness of these huge trunks, a genuine testimony to ages past. So I observe them carefully, the contrasting shades of colour, and weird shapes adopted by the branches. I feel I can breathe in all their vitality. It crosses my mind, "Would you really like there to be something here within these limbs?"
I hold my breath and strain my ears to listen more carefully, without making any murmur at all. And I immediately recognise that there is life in the undergrowth, amongst the leaves, in the air itself. I spot the tits, and in the distance can hear the drum taps of the woodpecker. Every time I am so struck by just how much beauty nature affords us: pure magic. I decide to change my position. Tempted by differing shapes of trees I move a few steps upwards and then, as if by instinct, I turn round. I can hardly believe what I see. I raise the telephoto lens and frame the subject. The tawny owl. I&´m stunned. As though I&´m living a dream. A beautiful one and so lucky that my eyes picked him out amongst the branches.

A spirit or sprite even, an ethereal presence wrapped up in his stillness. He sits there peacefully eyes closed, as though oblivious to all that&´s around. Serenity personified. I pull myself together remembering the Reflex I&´m holding. First shot: and am suddenly aware of the click. He squints, but remains motionless. A breeze merely stirs his feathers. I move away a little, stepping on a branch as I do; he opens a second eye now. Calmly and tentatively I look to get closer to the foot of the tree to take a few shots from below, and the owl moves its head following me. Two dark cobalt-blue marbles are observing me, as if he&´s asking: "What are you doing here? Is it to bother me?" I smile taking in the beauty of the moment, the miniscule and peculiar shifting of this particular creature and for the good fortune of our encounter.

I regularly hear owls at night when I stay at my house in the woods. But I hadn&´t seen them in daytime except for the odd brief flutter as the light fades. I head home a happy man, enriched by a new experience. See what you think of the accompanying photos.

THE TAWNY OWL A bird of prey belonging to the Strigidae bfamily. It has black eyes and blends perfectly within the woodland it frequents. Even though of the same species it&´s possible to see individuals of red, grey or an intermediate colour between the two. It has a height of 38 cms and a variable weight of 600 gms. The female is usually larger than the male. Its preferred meal comprises mice, small birds, reptiles and insects.

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Informazioni ex art. 1, comma 125, della legge 4 agosto 2017 n. 124
Relativamente agli aiuti di Stato e aiuti de Minimis, si rimanda a quanto contenuto nel
“Registro nazionale degli aiuti di Stato” di cui all’articolo 52 L. 234/2012 (


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