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Ghosts in the mist: Deadly great grey owls silently hunt for their prey in snowy Lapland

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  • Great Grey Owls - known as the phantom of the north - can be found in northern America and Europe

PUBLISHED: 15:33 EST, 7 December 2012 | UPDATED: 15:34 EST, 7 December 2012

These eerie images show the elusive Great Grey Owl - known as the phantom of the north - gliding through snowy Lapland in hunt of prey.

The Great Grey Owls are shown flying ghost-like through the wintry land, invariably staring down the camera lens with their luminous yellow eyes.

Wildlife photographer Jules Cox annually visits Lapland in the winter time hoping to shoot the magnificent owls but had not yet had any luck.

Ghostly bird: The Great Grey Owl is found in north America and north Europe

Ghostly bird: The Great Grey Owl is found in north America and north Europe

On the hunt: Great Grey Owls are known for their bright yellow piercing eyes

On the hunt: Great Grey Owls are known for their bright yellow piercing eyes

Birds at war: Two Great Grey owls fight in the snow over fallen prey

Birds at war: Two Great Grey owls fight in the snow over fallen prey

He again travelled out to Finland this year and managed to photograph the stunning Northern Lights - but the Great Greys evaded him once more.

But, just a few weeks after returning home he was informed by a Finnish friend that the owls had been spotted hunting there.

Without hesitation Mr Cox booked a flight out to Finland, chancing his arm that he may fulfill his photography dream.

Mr Cox, 41, from Bermondsey, London, said: 'For the last few years I've visited Finland in winter in the hope of photographing this beautiful bird.

A winter wonderland: A Great Grey Owl effortlessly soars across the fallen snow in Lapland

A winter wonderland: A Great Grey Owl effortlessly soars across the fallen snow in Lapland

Lethal and graceful: Wildlife photographer Jules Cox annually travels to Lapland to try and capture pictures of the Great Grey Owl

Lethal and graceful: Wildlife photographer Jules Cox annually travels to Lapland to try and capture pictures of the Great Grey Owl

Hard work paid off: But Jules Cox finally got to see the Great Greys in action this year

Hard work paid off: But Jules Cox finally got to see the Great Greys in action this year

'But, the more I chased, the more the opportunity seemed to elude me.

'Only a matter of weeks after returning from Finland though a Finnish guide told me a couple of Great Grey Owls had been seen hunting in open areas of Lapland.

'There was no time to waste, Great Greys are nomadic and there was no knowing how long the owls would remain in the area for.

'Flights were hastily booked and followed by a madcap dash to Heathrow, we then had a long wait at Helsinki Airport for a connecting flight to Lapland.

Going in for the kill: These dramatic images capture the intricate details of the Great Grey's feathers

Going in for the kill: These dramatic images capture the intricate details of the Great Grey's feathers

Ready for your close-up? A Great Grey hunched up in the snow stares in to the camera lens

Ready for your close-up? A Great Grey hunched up in the snow stares in to the camera lens

Incredible sight: Mr Cox has often missed the birds on his travels to Lapland

Incredible sight: Mr Cox has often missed the birds on his travels to Lapland

'But the gamble paid off - just hours later I was stood watching the Phantoms of the North staring back at me, perched in falling snow.'

In Scandanavian myth and folklore the Great Grey Owl is sometimes referred to as the Phantom of the North.

The species, of which males can grow up to 33 inches in length, are also known as a Lapland Owl.

Mr Cox added: 'There were five to six of the Great Greys in the area when I got there.

'I focused my shots on a specific pair though who were particularly accommodating.

'The whole experience was just totally unreal and it really finished off the year in style.'

Nomads: Mr Cox said it is difficult to catch the Great Greys as they are nomadic and it is impossible to say how long they will stay in any given area

Nomads: Mr Cox said it is difficult to catch the Great Greys as they are nomadic and it is impossible to say how long they will stay in any given area

Soaring through the air: Great Greys wait, listen, and watch for prey, before swooping down for the kill

Soaring through the air: Great Greys wait, listen, and watch for prey, before swooping down for the kill

Eerie: A lone Great Grey perches on a tree stump as the snow falls around it

Eerie: A lone Great Grey perches on a tree stump as the snow falls around it

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