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Monday, 9 January 2012

Back To The Owls - on 6th & 8th January, 2012

In my last post I was bemoaning the foul weather we'd been having, with wind and rain putting owling activities on hold. On Friday morning, we had a short period of bright sunshine with just a gentle breeze and, as I had an errand to run on my local patch, I set off there. I saw three Little Owls on my local patch, and one was obliging enough to stay put whilst I took some photos.

Little Owl - my Site No.02
Saturday was a bit dull, and I was busy anyway, and Sunday started the same way. However, just after 2 o'clock, it started brightening up, so I set off for my local Short-eared Owl site, arriving at 14.40. To my amazement and delight two owls were already out hunting - they usually don't show up until after sundown. The sun even came out for a while! Although they kept their distance, I did manage some images that I believe are a little better than those I've managed before.

Short-eared-Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch

They were hunting quite successfully and spending time in the grass devouring their prey, but always at a great distance. At one point there was an aerial battle between a SEO and a Kestrel with, it seems, the Kestrel objecting to the SEO taking its Voles during the daytime. I'll possibly do a post on this in a few days time, although the images are not too good as it all happened at a great distance.

At one point, one of the owls perched on a fence, where I'd recently taken an image in much poorer light. However, once again, it chose to do this in a distant and difficult position.
Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch
As it started getting dark, I did manage some shots of one of the birds down in the grass, looking quite malevolent! 

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch
As I was writing this I just had to take a short break as a Goldfinch flew into my window. I looked out and it was motionless on the ground, so I went out, saw that it was alive, and gently picked it up to move it to a safer place. As I was holding it in my hand, it suddenly revived and flew off - a magical moment!! Now back to this post!

After an amazing hour and a half of watching these birds, it was too dark for photography so I decided to go home. I tend to use my camera as a notebook, often taking shots, not for the image but just to record time and date. As I was about to leave, one of the SEOs was still perched on a distant fence (not the same one as the last fence image), where it had been for probably around 15 minutes. I grabbed the 'recording the going home time' shot and, to my amazement, it's one that turned out to be one that I actually like. OK, so it's a terrible shot of a SEO, but I think it captures the atmosphere of the scene?

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch


  1. These are amazing captures Richard,they've put a smile on my face.

  2. Thank you John. I'm delighted to hear that they put a smile on your face, as I think I must have been grinning from ear to ear whilst watching the SEOs during this session!"!

  3. I'm delighted for you Richard because these are fantastic images of the SEO. I would be over-the-moon with them, and I'd like to emulate them. Really good.

  4. Thank you Christian - you must have been writing your comment as I was putting one on your blog!

    This for me was a lucky break, and gave me my best opportunity from, probably, about thirty visits.

  5. Congratulations Richard great set.
    Yes, the last shot works for me too.
    I also meant to comment on you non owl set, great stuff. Mike

  6. Thank you Mike. You did actually comment on my last non-owl set too, for which I am also grateful!

  7. Richard, I love the leading lines the fence posts impart in the Shortie images and the close to ground shots are very nice as well.

  8. Thank you for your kind and encouraging comments, Phil.


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