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 For obvious reasons, they will not be published.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

Friday, 27 November 2015

Asio Flammeus in Pole Position!

No, not an unknown driver excelling in qualifying for a race!

Following my finding of a Short-eared Owl site on Saturday, the photos from which featured in my previous post, I'd had a couple more visits to the site.  Neither of these visits resulted in any photos which improved on those taken on that first day. I did notice, however, that each time I visited, the owl spent some time on a particular tall pole. No matter which angle I looked from, it was never going to be possible to take a photo of the owl on the post with anything but a plain sky background. If I was going to make anything of this situation, I had to be closer.

The owl had appeared at 15h19 on that first day, but closer to 15h45 on the next two visits. Yesterday (Wednesday) I set up my hide and tripod at around 20 metres distance from the pole well before I expected the owl to emerge and went back to my car to wait in comfort, with the intention of getting into my hide at 15h00 to await the owl.

The owl showed at 14h52 !! It took a quick turn around the pole and my hide, and then went further away. Had it been spooked by my hide, I wondered? Fortunately it then flew over a high hedge and into the next field where it was out of sight. I ran to my hide and spent a few minutes settling myself in, attaching the cable release to the camera, and adjusting the camera on the tripod. 

About ten minutes later it came into my line of vision in the field that I was in, made a couple of attempts at catching prey and then flew up onto the top of the pole.


Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
I'd not had time to adjust my camera settings after taking the above images, before the owl left the pole and flew to the ground approximately 10 metres in front of me. I was sitting quite low, and the grass was very long so, unfortunately, I couldn't see the owl. By the time it popped up onto the pole again, I'd tweaked my settings - and it came back with prey! The following images are a few of the many that I took before it swallowed its prey whole. The last one in the sequence was of the 'glug' expression on its face as it went down!




Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
There are only so many images that one can take of the same owl on the same pole, without things getting repetitive. I was ready to leave, but the owl thought otherwise. It seemed totally oblivious to my presence, in spite of my rather noisy camera shutter, and so I sat it out. Here's a few taken in the ever decreasing light conditions whilst I waited for the owl to go. I'm particularly fond of the third image which, possibly, should be entitled 'shall we dance'.






Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
Half an hour or so after first landing on the post, the owl flew off the post and departed over the hedge into the next field. I quickly packed up and hurried back to my car.

I could tell that the owl was relaxed in the presence of me in my hide as not once did it raise its 'ear tufts', it preened, and it barely ever looked in my direction. I shall, therefore, aim to have one more session here, with my hide at approximately 10 metres distance, in the hope of getting some images with more detail of that fabulous face!

Thank you for dropping by.

It's been a long while, but I'm linking this to Stewart Monkton's 'Wild Bird Wednesday', where he's got an excellent post on Red-tailed Tropicbird.

44 comments:

  1. I couldn't/wouldn't care about the backdrop for images like this Richard. I really like the one with prey, but more importantly every single image shows them feet, it's even wearing what looks like leg warmers lol

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If I manage another session at closer range, Doug, I shall attempt to get at least one image that features those wonderful feet in more detail - just for you and Noushka!

      Have a great weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  2. These are perfect as they are. If you want a different back drop then Photoshop would oblige. This would isolate easily with Refine edge in CS5 onwards.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Adrian. I still don't do Photoshop. In the very early days I used Gem at my place of work. Gem seems to have been absorbed by Corel, and I've stuck with Corel ever since, using Corelphotopaint for any photo editing I do after an initial adjustment of the RAW image in ViewNX 2. I now find, however, that I'm reasonably happy to have this featureless background when I've done a relatively close crop, as above.

      Have a great weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  3. Oh wow this is amazing Richard. Love all the captures but with the mouse especialy. Hope one day to be able to capture this Owl as well.
    Good luck with the next session.
    Regards,
    Roos

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Roos. The weather needs to improve before I attempt another session, and the forecast does not look good for the next few days!

      I hope you manage to find a 'Shortie' this winter. Have a great weekend - - - - Richard

      Delete
  4. I don't think you could have too many shots of this beautiful Owl posing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you think that way, Margaret, as I suspect (and hope!) that there may be more to come.

      Thank you for your visit. Best wishes for the weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  5. A massive well done Richard,these are exquisite captures,I would be willing to spent a week in any man made hide,to get images as good as these,love the prey eating shots,superb captures.
    And you manage to adjust camera settings along the way,lots like you kept a steady hand,super cool.
    Best Blog post of the week.
    Keep safe and well.
    John.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, John! Any more comments like that and I'll have to go out and buy a bigger hat!

      The weather here at the moment is dismal, to say the least, and the forecast has it as set for a few days. Looks like it might be a while before I try and connect with this bird again.

      Thank you for your very kind words. Wishing you a wildlife-filled weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  6. Great experience Richard and very well photographed. Good luck when you return for more.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, David. I'm hoping for a change in the weather, so that I can get back there.

      Enjoy your weekend - - - Richard

      Delete
  7. BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!! nothing more needs to be said........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Very kind words, Paul. Thank you!

      I'd pretty much given up on today as it was very dull and threatening rain. However, it brightened up a little around 2 p.m. so I thought I'd give it a go. Sadly, the owl was not seen, but it had got rather windy by about 3p.m. so maybe it decided to give it a miss. I'll be keeping watch, weather permitting!

      Have a great weekend!

      Delete
  8. Well done Richard, perfect. I never can the Short-ears, and you have it, thanks.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Bob. I hope you get a shortie one day, and that that you're managing to keep busy in this bad weather. Best wishes - - Richard

      Delete
  9. Brilliant Richard, you lucky beggar getting the bird so close, absolutely wonderful images.
    See you soon.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John. Sometimes one just gets lucky! Sadly, I think the bird might have gone, but the weather's not conducive to going out and checking, as it's probably staying tucked away if it is still there.

      Delete
  10. Absolutely amazing pictures. I hope you are well and getting out and about lots. From Finn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Finn. Great to hear from you! I've been following your exploits with increasing admiration, but I don't understand all this Twitter malarkey! It's a different world to mine!

      I'm fine, thank you. Not getting out much at the moment because of the weather. I'm game, but the owls won't play ball as they don't like the wind and the rain! You seem to be keeping well and full of energy!

      Best wishes to you, to Harley, and to your Mum and Dad - - - - - Richard

      Delete
  11. Wow! Amazing! So lovely to have the opportunity to get such brilliant pictures of this lovely owl :-) Look forward to seeing your next set of pictures of this owl. Well done for being patient :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was extremely lucky with this find, Linda. We don't see too many of these owls in Leicestershire, and when they do show, they attract a lot of attention. The place where I found this one is totally unsuitable for multiple observers, and also is unfenced, which is why I'm keeping it's location quiet.

      Looking forward to another post from yourself - it's been a long time! Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  12. Wow, fabulous shots of the owl. Well done, great post.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Eileen. Have a great week! - - - Richard

      Delete
  13. Wow, amazing shots! When I see these I want to paint an owl at "some" time:) Thanks for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Jesh! If you decide to paint my owl, please wait until I've finished photographing it, as I 'd prefer it to stay its natural colour until then! ;-}. Seriously, though, I hope you do paint an owl some time. They have so much character in their appearance. Please let me know if you do. Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  14. Quite astonishing pictures. Some of the best of a Short Eared Owl I've seen.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Adam. Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  15. Think I say this every time I look at your blog, but OH WOW. What amazing shots and as always I am so jealous. One day I may do better than the usual old garden birds! Take care Diane

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Diane. Whatever you do, don't knock your own photographic capabilities. Your studies of towns and villages in France, and other related subjects, are wonderfully inspiring.

      Have a great December - - - - Richard

      Delete
  16. spectacular series! and at times, almost other-worldly with the feathers whipping around and his intense eyes. nice to see you stop by today! i'm missing having more time for posting and visiting these days. really enjoyed seeing these this evening!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to hear from you, Theresa. Thank you for dropping by. I hope that it's for good reasons that your time for blogger is in short supply. With best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  17. AWESOME post! Truly incredible shots!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Oh my goodness, Richard, indeed those pics are competion level, especially the ones where he has a mouse in his beak!
    I would be so proud to achieve this, but again, many don't know the work that you've accomplished before hand...
    These last months, your photography has improved dramatically, I am really very impressed :)
    Huge hugs to share with Lindsay

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much, Noushka. Your kind words mean a great deal to me, as you set the standards that inspire me. I think I have improved a bit, but much of that can be attributed to good luck! I have, however, got a new resolve to be more focussed in my photography, and not always rely on chance encounters.

      I'm just off to share those hugs with Lindsay - hopefully you'll feel the warmth there too! My very best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  19. Exciting stuff! That is one awesome SEOW session. I have yet to see these birds, but to see one and actually watch it eat and get pics of it is pretty amazing. Thanks for sharing. Aren't owls awesome? Anytime I see one out in the field, I am one happy camper:)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Chris - owls are amazing! I never tire of watching these wonderful birds. Maybe one day you'll find your own shortie? I hope so!!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  20. Hello there - I miss these birds! I recall the first one I ever saw, it was over in Solway, I got very excited! This is a great series of pictures. The vole swallowing sequence is wonderful.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Stewart. Next time you're back in UK, maybe we could go shortie hunting - might require a fair bit of travelling, however, depending on the time of year!

      Best wishes - - - Richard

      Delete
  21. I cannot stop smiling, wow you called it just right, perfect timing, the changes that you quickly made and whoosh the magnificence of each of these is absolutely stunning! Well done!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for your kind words, Mary. Have a great weekend! - - - - Richard

      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.