GREAT GREY OWL IS PROBABLY THE BEST LOOKING OWL and we enjoyed a wonderful afternoon encounter with one near its nest in the Vygonoschanksy reserve of southern Belarus on an action-packed day that included other special breeding birds such as Smew and Aquatic Warbler. The owls are at the southernmost limit of their European range in Belarus and specialise in preying on Water Voles in the flooded mixed pine and alder forests here. Our local guide Sasha was very keen to show us one of his precious owls as well as his new electric bicycle! It is impossible to say just how impressive this massive owl is at close quarters, I have seen them in captivity lots of times but there is nothing like seeing one in its natural home minus any baiting or playback etc. These views are all of the same perch.