Notes on Use of This Blog

1. With posts prior to 5th February, 2013 it is possible to see better quality enlarged images by clicking on the image. When finished, just click outside the enlarged image to return to the blog post.
With posts from 5th February, 2013 there is no advantage in doing this as the images are to the same size and definition.

2. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Asio Flammeus in Pole Position!

No, not an unknown driver excelling in qualifying for a race!

Following my finding of a Short-eared Owl site on Saturday, the photos from which featured in my previous post, I'd had a couple more visits to the site.  Neither of these visits resulted in any photos which improved on those taken on that first day. I did notice, however, that each time I visited, the owl spent some time on a particular tall pole. No matter which angle I looked from, it was never going to be possible to take a photo of the owl on the post with anything but a plain sky background. If I was going to make anything of this situation, I had to be closer.

The owl had appeared at 15h19 on that first day, but closer to 15h45 on the next two visits. Yesterday (Wednesday) I set up my hide and tripod at around 20 metres distance from the pole well before I expected the owl to emerge and went back to my car to wait in comfort, with the intention of getting into my hide at 15h00 to await the owl.

The owl showed at 14h52 !! It took a quick turn around the pole and my hide, and then went further away. Had it been spooked by my hide, I wondered? Fortunately it then flew over a high hedge and into the next field where it was out of sight. I ran to my hide and spent a few minutes settling myself in, attaching the cable release to the camera, and adjusting the camera on the tripod. 

About ten minutes later it came into my line of vision in the field that I was in, made a couple of attempts at catching prey and then flew up onto the top of the pole.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
I'd not had time to adjust my camera settings after taking the above images, before the owl left the pole and flew to the ground approximately 10 metres in front of me. I was sitting quite low, and the grass was very long so, unfortunately, I couldn't see the owl. By the time it popped up onto the pole again, I'd tweaked my settings - and it came back with prey! The following images are a few of the many that I took before it swallowed its prey whole. The last one in the sequence was of the 'glug' expression on its face as it went down!

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
There are only so many images that one can take of the same owl on the same pole, without things getting repetitive. I was ready to leave, but the owl thought otherwise. It seemed totally oblivious to my presence, in spite of my rather noisy camera shutter, and so I sat it out. Here's a few taken in the ever decreasing light conditions whilst I waited for the owl to go. I'm particularly fond of the third image which, possibly, should be entitled 'shall we dance'.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
Half an hour or so after first landing on the post, the owl flew off the post and departed over the hedge into the next field. I quickly packed up and hurried back to my car.

I could tell that the owl was relaxed in the presence of me in my hide as not once did it raise its 'ear tufts', it preened, and it barely ever looked in my direction. I shall, therefore, aim to have one more session here, with my hide at approximately 10 metres distance, in the hope of getting some images with more detail of that fabulous face!

Thank you for dropping by.