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Sunday, 22 November 2015

Short Interludes - on 20th & 21st November, 2013

On Friday morning I had a call from the owlmeister, Paul Riddle, wanting to meet up so that he could hand over one of his superb owl calendars that I'd ordered in support of his excellent work. It was agreed that we'd meet in the layby beside Cossington Meadows that afternoon. After the handover, Paul couldn't hang around for long as he was rather busy with work, so I set off on my own to see if I could find the Short-eared Owls that had been reported from this site.

I soon found that I was far from the only person to have this thought and by the time the owls (there were two of them) appeared at 15h08 there must have been over a dozen of us in attendance. Sadly the clouds had rolled in by then and it was quite breezy, and the owls didn't come very close, so I only got record shots. However they do, at least, portray something of the nature of these wonderful birds.

The first image shows the first bird when it first appeared.





Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - Cossington Meadows
The light was gone, it was threatening rain, and I was inadequately dressed for the cold, so I departed at just after 4 p.m.

Inspired by the sight of these birds, yesterday (Saturday 21st) I decided to check out a location much nearer to home which I'd recently passed and which, at first glance, seemed to have fair potential for wintering Short-eared Owl. I didn't have any great expectations, so you can probably imagine my surprise when, within a couple of minutes from getting out of my car, a Short-eared Owl appeared. For some very good reasons, I am not able to divulge the location of this site, but I'm unaware of any previous sightings here.

Fortunately the light, although not good, was a bit better than it had been the previous day at Cossington Meadows, so I did a bit better with the photography.









Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus) - undisclosed site
I can see from the metadata that this session only lasted less than 15 minutes - a short Short interlude! During this time, the light had been diminishing rapidly, and the owl had now moved further away, and so I decided to head for home. If it's not raining later today, I shall be back there again! Watch this space!

Thank you for dropping by.

28 comments:

  1. Wow these are super shots,love the flight shots,15 minutes of delight.
    Lucky man.
    Keep well Richard.
    John.

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    1. Thank you, John. It's not that often that I get a hunch that pays off, although there have been a few lately!

      I'm loving this crisp cold spell, and hope that it's working for you two too!

      Best wishes - - Richard

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  2. Great images Richard, really liked the ones from the second site. Good luck with the owls it seems like they're on everyone's "must photograph" list this winter.

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    1. Thanks, Doug. I was delighted to see yesterday's owl again today - didn't do so well with the photography, however, in spite of better light.

      I'm confident that I'll never get an image that matches your fabulous blog header in quality! It's good to have an incentive to try harder, however!

      Best wishes - - Richard

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  3. Truly amazing flight shots, Richard. One of the great pleasures in locating Short-eared Owls is to see them in flight. They look almost spectral at times.

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    1. Thank you, David. I sometimes have to remind myself to take photos when watching these birds in flight, as they are so magical.

      We too had snow on Saturday morning. Most of it went almost immediately, but there's still a light covering on the lawn.

      Take care and keep warm - - Richard

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  4. A quality set of images Richard. Lovely captures.

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    1. Thank you for those kind words, Marc. I love your recent sea-watch images!

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  5. Great images Richard, saw your car on Friday on my way to Sileby. Lucky to get the second set of images of the bird flying.
    John

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    1. Thanks, John. Hope you have good luck with the Cossington birds this afternoon!

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  6. Brilliant captures Richard! I love the eyes of this owl, it reminds me of women with black eyeliner put on very thick, if you watch Strickly Come Dancing you will know what I mean ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Linda. My wife was watching 'Strictly' yesterday, and I stayed for a few minutes - I know exactly what you mean! I love the faces of these owls, and particularly the eyes. There was one Short-eared Owl that I used to see regularly a few years ago, and it was extremely cross-eyed!!

      Best wishes for a great week - - - Richard

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  7. Hello Richard, some fantastic captures of these Short-eared Owls. May I say that I am a bit jalous. I know they are half an hour drive from my home but still did not manage to see them let alone take a picture of them. They are indeed so beautyful.
    Regards,
    Roos

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    1. Hi Roos. Thank you for your kind words. Sorry to hear that you had an unfruitful journey to see the owls - however, that's the nature of the hobby! That first location for my sightings was over half an hour's drive from my home. The second location is only ten minutes away!

      Have a great week, and keep wrapped up warmly - - - Richard

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  8. FANTASTIC images of the Owls especially the flight shots.

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  9. Flipping well done buddy, a great set of images but for me the last but one image is BRILLIANT!!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Thank you for those kind words, Paul. You will always be my main inspiration for all matters owl !!

      Have a great week, and don't work too hard! - - - - Richard

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  10. Oh wow, these are fantastic photos and I am more than jealous. I love them all, but the second last one flying straight towards you is a cracker. Well done Diane

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Diane. That penultimate one seems to be favourite elsewhere, too, but I think my favourite is the fourth one in the second set.

      I hope that all is well with you during these terrible times in France. Take good care - - - - Richard

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  11. An excellent set considering the conditions you describe. I often cannot agree with the term 'record shot' used by authors, and these are a case in point, there isn't one I would like to name as my favourite....All great stuff Richard.

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    1. Thank you for your very kind words, Pete. I guess I used the term 'record shots' because the results were much below the standard that I'd have hoped for. Whilst I'm actually rather pleased with the scene that the first set convey, I was disappointed in the lack of sharpness and detail, and the excessive graininess. I had to do a fair amount of work on those images to make them presentable, and if I'd have cropped them any more, you'd have seen exactly what I mean! I guess that trying to make the most out of what you get is part of the hobby of wildlife photography!

      With my very best wishes - - - Richard

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  12. They don't get much better than this.
    I hear owls most nights but never see them during the day. I must be blind or make too much noise cursing the dogs.

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    1. Kind words, indeed, Adrian! Thank you.

      If you're hearing owls at night, they're probably Tawny Owls which are pretty-much nocturnal. The most diurnal of the British owls is the Little Owl, and you won't find many of them north of the border. The owls in this post (Short-eared Owl) can often be seen out during the day, especially when feeding young, but are more reliably crepuscular. They are in extremely good supply in Scotland, but many of the Scottish birds head down into England when harsh winter weather sets in. These, and possibly birds from further afield, are almost certainly what we are seeing locally at present.

      Best wishes - - - Richard

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  13. Well honestly I don't know how you could better these pics!
    I would be happy to shoot them!
    This bird in flight is pure magic.
    Many thanks again for your kind words and mail :)
    Love an hugs to share with Lindsay

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    1. Thank you so much, Noushka! Hugs for you too.

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  14. Well, you've done it again, flying Owls. What equipment do you use?

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    1. Hi Bob. Thanks for your visit.

      I'm a Nikon man. I use a D300s (only 12.3 Mp) with a Sigma 50-500 lens attached - for everything! Hoping to get the D7200 (24.4 Mp) sometime next year if Nikon don't bring out a replacement for the D300s.

      Best wishes - - Richard

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