Notes on Use of This Blog



1. With posts prior to 5th February, 2013 it is possible to see better quality enlarged images by clicking on the image. When finished, just click outside the enlarged image to return to the blog post.
With posts from 5th February, 2013 there is no advantage in doing this as the images are to the same size and definition.

2. I have a policy that I always reply to comments on my blog, even if it's just to say thank you.

3. Please don't submit comments that include your own web address. For obvious reasons, they will not be published.

4. I'm now on Twitter - @RichardPegler1

Thursday, 31 October 2013

That's A Bit Better !! - on Monday 28th October, 2013

It was the day of 'The Big Storm' in UK, with the south of the country being battered by high winds, which did much damage to property and, sadly, claimed a number of lives. We fared OK up in the English Midlands, although we had high winds and much rain.

By the afternoon I was getting stir-crazy and, against my better judgement, decided to go out owling for a couple of hours. My expectations were very low as owls aren't known for liking windy weather. I first called at my Little Owl Site No.17. Fortunately I had my camera set up in anticipation of a shot as, when I rounded the building, there was a LO perched just 20ft (6 metres) away - so close that, on more than half the shots, I found that I'd got part of its tail missing! It only stayed for about three seconds, but I managed a few shots before it dived into the building. Although it was sunny, this was on the shady side of the building, so I was working at ISO 800.

Little Owl - my Site No.17
I next went to LO Site No.03, but nothing doing there. Next port of call was Site No.06, where I'd not seen an owl since February. At first I though I was out of luck, but then I spotted an owl lurking out of the wind. I couldn't get an unobstructed shot and it was really in the gloom. This first image was taken at 800 ISO, 1/60 sec., lens wound back to 380mm.

Little Owl - my Site No.06
You can tell how dark it was by the size of the owls' eye pupils!

This second image, actually taken before the image above, was taken with the lens out at 500mm and at an 1/80 sec.

Little Owl - my Site No.06
I'm delighted to say that the owl was still there when I left!

With these two in the bag, it was time to go home - not too bad, I thought, for a couple of hours on a windy day.

The following day I spent six hours looking for owls and didn't find a single one, but it was a bit colder and windier than the previous day.

It's now the last day of the month and, unless a miracle happens, I'm set to have my worst month for owl sightings since December, 2011.

16 comments:

  1. Some of your owl pictures are simply stunning. I spent my childhood in Staffordshire and have visited England several times since. I have yet to see a Little Owl! The other owl present in Britain that has always proved elusive for me is Barn Owl. I have seen it in various parts of the world but never in the UK. That's the nature of birding I guess.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you David. I always consider it a very lucky break when I see a Barn Owl, and usually it's just around dawn or (more commonly) just before it's fully dark. Little Owls are far more predictable - if you know where to look!

      Delete
  2. It is odd how on a very blustry and wet day you managed to get a few shots yet the next day the LO's are back to hiding away, it almost like they're teasing you. I won't bang on about how the LO's are doing on my patch but I had a local gamekeeper I know approach me yesterday asking where the pair on his land have gone, after a few hours with him we failed to locate them :o(

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It has certainly become more difficult for me to find Little Owl in this second half of 2013, Doug. I just hope that we get weather which will allow the population to bounce back next year. However, with the reduction in numbers, I suspect that it might take a few years of favourable conditions to get back to 2012 levels.

      Delete
  3. It certainly is tricky isn't it? It takes a long time to locate owls.....and they do move around:) We just located a new Great Horned Owl area and thankfully they were still there. Hope everyone dries out over there:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Chris. The people in the south of the country are currently bracing themselves for another storm. however, it looks as if we'll be OK here in the Midlands.

      Look after those Great Horned Owls - I look forward to future posts featuring them!

      Delete
  4. He is a beauty. And you captured him well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Cracking images, Richard, esp. 1 and 2. Very intense eyes.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Christian. All the best with your new blog, and the photography.

      Delete
  6. Great post again Richard with some close....close ups! Do you count a bad month by the infrequent sightings, or by how much effort you put in and what sightings per visit etc?

    Dave

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Dave.

      I'm afraid that my analysis is a bit 'nerdy' in that I keep a spreadsheet of all my sightings and one sheet shows, on a monthly basis, how many sightings at how many sites there have been over the month. This will be influenced by the weather, my availability to take advantage of favourable weather conditions - and, of course, whether the owls are there or not. (had to check that I didn't trip myself up there with so many mentions of weather & whether and site & sight!)

      My records show time of sighting, number and position of the birds, and weather & temperature. I don't usually record no-show visits, but am probably going to add these in for 2014. However, sometimes it's a cursory look around and sometimes it's a several hour stake-out.

      Delete
  7. Love these images Richard,superb close up shots.
    The eye detail is fabulous.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I think these are fantastic photos, I would just like to get one of a Little Owl but I suspect you have a lot more patience than I have!! Have a good weekend. Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Diane. I suppose I am a bit focussed on owls. I would guess that 50% of the time that I leave the house it's specifically to look for owls.

      Delete

I'm pleased to report that the anonymous spam problem seems to be solvable without using word verification. I'm now just using the 'Registered Users - includes OpenID' option in Blogger settings, and I'm not getting any spam - touch wood! I've also not received any contact from people saying that they are no longer able to make comments.