Ministry of s-owl-y walks! ‘comical’ little owl does best John Cleese impression with flamboyant

A ‘comical’ little owl has been snapped pulling off an array of flamboyant marches – worthy of John Cleese in Ministry of Silly Walks.

In a funny sequence of shots the male owl can be seen dramatically swinging one leg into the air as his wings point in different directions before bowing his head and intently marching ahead.

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The brown and white feathered bird’s ‘amusing’ audition for a new Monty Python sketch was captured by Dennis Greenwood at a quarry in Shawforth, Rossendale Valley, last week.
School site manager Dennis, 55, sat near an old plank of wood for hours as he waited for the bird to come into land and charge at a grub – displaying his various hilarious Cleese-esque moves in just three seconds.
Dennis, of Shawforth, Rossendale Valley, said: “In the photos the owl was landing on an old plank of wood. I was sat near it, watching for his landings and trying to capture them.

“As soon as he lands he automatically sets off running. It is quite amusing. It looks like he is marching across this plank of wood.

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“Some of the walks he does are so comical. It’s like he’s doing an impression of John Cleese in Ministry of Silly Walks. It’s great.
“When you’re watching it, it’s over so quickly. All these shots are from one sequence and it was over in about three seconds so it’s nice to look at the photos and see you’ve got something unique.
“And people love to see the owls walking. Everyone I’ve showed them too has really enjoyed them. It’s something a bit different and so funny.
“It’s breeding season at the moment so the male owl is really active between 5:30pm and 9pm each evening. You can see him flying around, picking up food and guarding his territory.
“I’ve been watching the birds for so long now I can tell what they’re going to do. And you can see before he lands that he’s got his eye on something.
“Then he lands and marches towards some sort of grub. It’s great to watch and I’ve got a lovely spot to take photos in.”
Dennis has been watching the ‘charismatic’ owls every day for ten years after buying DVDs about birdlife in his area.
Three years after picking up the hobby, Dennis decided to buy a camera and start taking photos of all the wildlife he would spot on his walks – and is always on the lookout for a humorous angle.

Photography has given usually ‘impatient’ and sport-orientated Dennis a pastime he can completely get lost in.

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And as if by fate, Dennis met the man behind the DVD that inspired it all at a barn owl nesting site 20 miles from home.
Dennis said: “I’m always on the lookout for comical photos and I have a file I save them all in. This is one of my favourites.
“Little owls are my passion. When I first moved to Shawforth I wanted to pick up a new hobby and I found two DVDs about local birds at a car boot sale.
“After watching them I learnt about three little owl nesting areas nearby and I started doing circular walks around them with the dog. Ten years later I’m still doing the same.
“What I like about the little owls the most is their comical expressions. They are very charismatic little birds, you can’t fail to find something amazing to photo with them.

“For years after buying those DVDs I was going around the sites where filming happened taking photos.

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“The a few years ago I was 20 miles from home at a barn owl nesting site and I met a videographer who was trying to set up his first digital camera, he was getting into photography.
“I helped him out and we got chatting. He turned out to be the guy from the DVDs and we have been great friends ever since.
“Before I was always a sporty type of person and birdwatching and wildlife was not my thing at all but watching those DVD kick-started it all.
“In real life I’m the most impatient person in the world but when I’m watching birds or in a hide I can be there for hours. I can pass time away.
“I’m normally a very up and at ‘em kind of person but when I’m taking photos I’m completely different. I love that I can just get lost in it.”