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Sunday, 4 March 2012

I Should Go Home More Often!

Having finished a wallpapering job at home a couple of hours ago, I decided that it was about time I posted something on my blog. As far as the title of this post is concerned, you'll see why towards the end of this post!

I've been out very little over the last week or so, other than to pop out and look after friend Martin's feeding station whilt he's away. I have found time on a couple of occasions to briefly go and check on the Little Owls on my local patch. They seem to be doing fine, and whilst my Site No.02 features more than any other in images on my blog, I was pleased with the light on this one, taken last Sunday.

Little Owl - my Site No.02
On Thursday, after topping-up Martin's feeding station early in the afternoon, I popped over to my local Short-eared Owl Site to see if they were out. They weren't, but the Skylarks were in full song, and some of them were sitting on posts, and being quite confiding. I still can't make my mind up about the first back-lit image. I didn't hang around long that day as the decorating was calling!

Skylark - near Ashby de la Zouch

On Friday I was a bit later topping-up Martin's feeding station, so I went straight on to the local Short-eared Owl site again. Nothing doing at first, but then one was seen in the distance just before 16.00 and then, some time after this, an owl had a prolonged skirmish with a Kestrel. Unfortunately, this was at quite a distance from me.

Short-eared Owl and Kestrel - near Ashby de la Zouch

For a while these birds rose higher and higher. Then it seemed that they gave up and both drifted a little closer to me - and then took up the fight again!

Short-eared Owl and Kestrel - near Ashby de la Zouch
Eventually they broke off the fight and the Kestrel headed south, whilst the owl returned to its hunting grounds in the fields around my position.

I spent a happy hour watching the two SEOs that were hunting in the area, not getting any very satisfying images, but I'll include a few here for the sake of completion.

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch

The light was fading fast and, having met up with two others who had been watching the birds and had a chat, we decided that it was time for us to go to our homes. One of my companions suddenly noticed a SEO ahead of us, perched on a post beside the path that we were on, and only about a hundred metres from the exit to the site. We continued, somewhat stealthily now, trying to look nonchalant as we approached the exit. We ended up getting very close and I managed to get what I consider to be by far my best images of a SEO to date, even though they were at 1600 ISO and 1/200 second!

Short-eared Owl - near Ashby de la Zouch
I'm delighted that this happened to be the very pale bird that we see at this site.

In previous posts, I have referred to 'the going home shot' - a shot that is taken to record the departure time and which, in spite of poor light, unexpectedly turns out to be interesting. This takes that scenario to the extreme! I must go home more often!!


  1. YES!!! Are you kidding me? Those flight shots, the go home shots....all of them are excellent!! You are one lucky man and good with the camera. Very exciting post with lots happening....those last views are incredible. Great color detail...well done.

  2. Absolutely stunning, the Kestrel shots were great but that last sequence on the post is just brilliant!

  3. Great images Richard. Love the second Skylark shot. I would love a Little Owl site here in N Yorks!

  4. Those last images Richard are superb.

  5. Thank you, Rohrerbot, for your extremely kind comments. Luck and perseverance have a lot to do with it!

  6. Thank you Alan. Your kind words are much appreciated!

  7. Thank you Mike. Those Little Owls are there in your neck of the woods - it's just a matter of finding them. It's taken me a couple of years or so to locate 26 LO sites - and that's with a lot of hours put in!

  8. Thank you Paul. Kind words coming from 'the master' are really appreciated!

  9. Hi Richard

    The fight scenes are great, I'd love to get some of those and the Skylark is a beautiful bird and I like the backlit shot. However, I agree with you, those last shots are brilliantly clear and sharp. You must be delighted.

  10. Thank you Christian. I certainly felt that it was my lucky day with those last SEO images!

  11. Lovely shots of the Skylark and brilliant ones of the Short Eared owl.

  12. Thank you for your kind words Linda

  13. Amazing photography Richard,love the action captures.

    1. Thank you, John, for your kind words - and it gives me the opportunity to try out the 'reply' facility that I set up last night!


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