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Updated: May 25

A wildlife photographer got a surprise when the owl she was snapping swooped down and landed on the lens of her camera.

Face of a Great Gray Owl

The Great Gray - the largest species of owl in the world - landed just inches from Anaïs Trépanier's face as she stood poised with the viewfinder to her eye near Quebec, Canada. She had been trying to capture the magisterial bird sitting on a snowy fence in wintry conditions but stopped still when it took flight in her direction.

Fellow photographer Thomas Pham-Van captured the owl making itself at home and not giving a hoot during the extraordinary moment as it preened itself.

Thomas said: 'The owl took off and flew straight ahead and then made a loop to come back, heading towards Anais. I was already amazed to see this magnificent bird and have the privilege of capturing it in flight, but I was so surprised to see it perched on the camera lens.'

The wild owl sat perched for around 30 seconds before flying off, in a bittersweet moment for an understandably apprehensive Anaïs.

The Great Gray Owl is a mammoth bird, the largest by length (24 to 33 inches), with a wingspan reaching five feet - although they only weigh a modest 2.5 pounds and are mostly feathers. They are found in Canada and some parts of the western seaboard of the United States, as well as Scandinavia, Russia, Siberia, and Mongolia.