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Sunday, 18 December 2011

Nice Weather For Shorts! - on 15th and 18th December, 2011

Was out on Thursday afternoon delivering Christmas presents to the landowners of my Little Owl sites (no LOs seen!) and had finished by about 15.00 so decided to head for my local Short-eared Owl site whilst there was still some light. There was still a little sun hitting the ground when I arrived at about 15.15, but at a very oblique angle. However, I  immediately spotted a SEO from the entrance gate. It flew and landed in the grass about 10 metres from the path, about 200 metres ahead of me. I tried a stealthy approach and got to within about 20 metres. I found that I was already having to work at 2000 ISO so there is not much detail in the image.

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch





























It stayed for quite some time, but it did not allow me to get any closer before it departed to the far side of the field. For the next hour I watched the owls (there were two of them for some of the time) and the ISO went up from 2000 to 3200 before I gave up the photography side of things. The owls, for most of the time, were staying very low, and as the fields round here that are frequented by the owls are all rather humped in the middle I seemed to get a lot of images of owls just above the grass. However, the owls were also landing in the grass a lot more than usual.






Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch





























With the last knockings of any light I took the following image which, although poor, I include because it's not often I see the spread wings from above.

Short-eared Owl - Ashby de la Zouch
Today (Sunday 18th December) I had a plenty of free time and decided that, as it was a sunny morning after earlier rain and snow it might be worth a look to see if the owls were out again - they weren't as far as I could see!

Not to be outdone, I returned again in the afternoon, with the sun still shining brightly. No owls showed whilst the sun was out, so I set off to explore some of the other locations that they frequent. I'd almost given up, with the light getting impossibly low, and was heading back to my original location, when an owl flew out of the new plantation beside me and landed on the stump of a bush in a recently cut hedge about 25 metres away. It didn't allow me to get any closer but, miraculously, I managed some images which came out. Whilst not good, these are probably the best SEO images I have managed so far (1/50 sec. handheld at ISO 1600!!). One day I'll get there!


Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch

11 comments:

  1. These are delightful to see,outstanding collection Richard.
    Brilliant photography.
    John.

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  2. Thank you, John, for your kind words, but I'm far from satisfied with my results - Still, gives me a good reason to return and spend some more time watching these amazing birds!

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  3. A lovely account Richard with some lovely photographs albeit in challenging light conditions. Excellent in-flight captures.

    I'm holiday now, but there's jobs aplenty! It's that damn Christmas thing getting in the way of my owling!

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  4. A lovely account Richard with some lovely photographs albeit in challenging light conditions. Excellent in-flight captures.

    I'm holiday now, but there's jobs aplenty! It's that damn Christmas thing getting in the way of my owling!

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  5. Thank you Christian. I know what you mean about Christmas jobs. I think that I'm pretty well there now - just got to cook the tea this evening then go out and get some local cider later, and then I'm all set. Have a good one!

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  6. Thank you Mike - and have a good one yourself!

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  7. Lucky you Richard, brilliant pictures. I love these owls, they look like they have black eye makeup smudged around their eyes:)

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  8. Thank you Linda. I'm getting a bit too preoccupied with these Short-eared Owls, and my Little Owls are getting neglected. Hopefully I'll start putting that right over the Christmas period. Have a great Christmas!!

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  9. Those are the pics that I dream of......I have only one of the SEO, here in Spain is imposible to see it a day time.
    If you enter my blog In seo you can see it...
    Saludos!

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  10. Thank you El Campero. I have not managed to find your image of a SEO - only your very nice images of a Long-eared Owl.

    Greetings from UK

    Richard

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