By Saturday I was thoroughly fed up with staying in because of the foul weather. We'd had four days of snow and the temperature had not risen above freezing during the whole time. Our road hadn't been cleared or gritted, and there were at least two accidents that I knew of within two hundred metres of my house. The message was 'stay at home unless your journey is necessary' - it was necessary for my own sanity!! I was, therefore, none to pleased to wake up to freezing fog. Fortunately this had burned off by 09:30 and so, at 10:30 I decided to go out and try and find something to photograph on my local patch. When I got into my car, the temperature was minus 6.5 degrees. Within 500 metres it was showing minus 9.0 degrees and by the time I reached my patch, it was minus 10 degrees and still freezing fog, although I could detect the sun trying to break through. After waiting for a while, I tried a few atmospheric shots of the scenery, one of which is shown below.
A few minutes later, the fog was lifting well. My main objective was to try and take some images of my local Little Owl, but I couldn't find it anywhere, so I just took a few more atmospheric snow shots, including the one below - which shows my LO's favourite roost tree (when it can be bothered to leave the barn!).
After this session, I decided to go up to the farmyard to have a mooch around, and a chat with the farmer. I arrived to find that the bushes on the farm approach road were alive with birds. They were mainly House Sparrows, Chaffinches, - and Yellowhammers! Maybe it was the cold weather that did it, but these were a little more confiding than usual.
I then headed back to my Owl site for another quick check before heading home to cook lunch. There was no sign of the Owl, but I did take a few more snow scene shots, and also some distant shots of a Fieldfare in the snow.
Oh yes - that bit about the Dozy Old Git! Below is my last image of the day (taken because the snow in the tree looked nice). It was not until I got home and started sorting out my images on the PC that I noticed, when I looked at 100% magnification, that there was a Little Owl in the picture. I then examined some of the first images from that day, and it was there also (its in the second image on this posting - on the branch above the bare branch on the left of the tree near the top, although you won't see it at this magnification). I had been there for over an hour, and I hadn't spotted the Owl!!! My excuse is that, whenever I've seen this Owl in a tree, it's been low down, and I'd long given up searching for it in high branches - I won't be so complacent again! I'd walked under the tree a few times, so had been within 10 metres of the Owl, and my only images were taken with the zoom wide open at 80mm and at about 100 metres distant!!!
Tree with Little Owl in it - highly cropped from one of my first images of the day
Incidentally, on my way home, at mid-day, the temperature was still minus 10 degrees. It had warmed up by nearly 4 degrees, however, when I went back in the afternoon to see if the Owl was still there - it wasn't, and besides, the frost had melted off the tree in the sun anyway - Bu**er!!!