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Thursday, 31 May 2012

It All Ended In A Blur - on 28th May, 2012

A visit to the National Memorial Arboretum for the Plant Hunters Fair on Saturday, found this Pied Wagtail sitting back-lit on a rock.

Pied Wagtail - National Memorial Arboretum

After this visit my wife and I trundled off to my nearby Little Owl site, and got a very distant view of the male owl before it decided to have a go at a Jackdaw, and then disappear behind the foliage.

On Monday I was relatively housebound during the day whilst the Smart was away for service and MoT. This meant that I was at home when a male Bullfinch arrived. Bullfinch used to be extremely rare in our garden, but we've had several sightings this year of both male and female, and a few times we've had both together. This day he was, unfortunately, in the shade whilst outside my window. I suspect, however, that this enabled me to capture some facial detail, including the eye - something that's not the easiest thing to do with a Bullfinch.

Bullfinch (male) - our garden

That evening I went to visit my friends with the Barn Owls. The male owl was even less cooperative than on previous occasions. The evening started bright and sunny and I was set up for some potential flight shots. As the evening progressed with 'no-show' from the owl the light dropped and dropped. When he eventually showed at 21:37 I was down to 1/10 second at ISO 3200. I wouldn't normally include any of the images taken as the quality is poor - even when compared to previous efforts here. However, the second of the two, when he took off, shows just how slow 1/10 second is!!!

Barn Owl (male) - nr. Ashby de la Zouch
With Barn Owls, I'm always concerned that I don't cause any sort of disturbance. I was at about 40 metres distance in my hide, and the bird spotted me immediately he emerged. However, he almost instantly relaxed, standing on one leg, and with his eyes closed for much of the time, before he decided to go hunting.


  1. Lovely portraits of the Pied Wagtail and Bullfinch, and what a pleasure to watch the Barn Owl

    1. Thank you for your kind words, Linda. Your own blog (very impressive) has reminded me that I have been neglecting the butterflies this year. In fact, I think I've only photographed a Holly Blue so far! Must put that right soon !

  2. Hi Richard

    That second Bullfinch shot is a beauty - lovely pose and background.

    I've been spotted by the Barn Owls once or twice over the last year and I've found them to briefly enquire and then just get on with their business! The reason I think that a hide is so important is illustrated by my encounter on Monday: The male bird emerged and hunted within 5 metres of me, in the hide, totally oblivious to my presence. There were no images obtained due to human error! The point is, when I'm in the hide, the owls are not disturbed and can get on with the job of surviving!

    1/10 is very slow indeed!

    1. Thank you Christian. Sorry to hear that you missed the shots on Monday. These things can get very frustrating, can't they!!

      Yep, 1/10 is slow! I usually only use a tripod, when absolutely necessary - this time it was necessary, and I suspect that the recently acquired cable-release was a critical factor too!

  3. Lucky you, bullies in your garden, a rare treat indeed!

    1. Yep. They're always exciting to see, wherever they are!


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