Bangor photographer’s baby owl is the face of our charity calendar

Thursday 15th November 2018

Long-eared owl chick (c) Lesley Barker Long-eared owl chick (c) Lesley Barker

An adorable long-eared owl chick captured by Bangor photographer Lesley Barker is the face of Ulster Wildlife’s 2019 Calendar, which is on sale now to help raise vital funds for local wildlife.

Lesley’s baby owl scooped the prestigious front cover position by an online public vote, beating her second shortlisted photo, a radiant red squirrel, off the top position by just a few votes.

Keen photographer Lesley took the winning shot at Castle Espie on a chance day off work.

She said: “I love wildlife, especially birds, and owls have always been on my “wish” list so I was very excited to learn that two long-eared owl chicks had fledged locally, so I rushed to catch a glimpse.

“One of the owls moved, otherwise I am not sure I would have noticed it as they are so well camouflaged! I think I actually held my breath while taking the picture as I was trying to stop shaking with excitement! One look at those beautiful bright eyes and I was in love! This is still one of the best wildlife encounters I have had and it always amazes me what breath-taking wildlife we have right on our doorstep.”

Lesley’s pictures sit alongside ten other stunning wildlife photographs, all showcasing the beauty of Northern Ireland’s wildlife, including a captivating pine marten cub taken in Holywood, a puffin preparing for take-off off Rathlin Island, and a serene swan with her cygnets on the Broad Water.

Each year, calendar sales help boost funds for Ulster Wildlife’s work to safeguard the future of local wildlife and wild places across Northern Ireland.

Speaking for the charity, Vickie Chambers said, “Proceeds from the calendar sales go directly to helping local wildlife, thanks to sponsorship from Bombardier. This means buyers will be supporting 18 nature reserves across Northern Ireland, a network of volunteers, as well as specific projects, which help much loved but under-threat species, such as barn owls and red squirrels.

She added: "Last year, we were able to generate over £2,000 through our Christmas calendar sales, thanks to the generosity of local people, which makes a big difference to local wildlife.”

Ulster Wildlife’s 2019 Calendar costs just £4.99 including postage and is available to purchase at www.ulsterwildlife.org/shop

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Tagged with: Fundraising, Calendar, Fundraising, Wildlife