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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

8 comments:

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

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  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!"!

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  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.

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  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.

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  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

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

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  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.

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

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