Short eared owls....

02nd April 2012
"Short eared owls" have been tricky for me to photograph in the past, until this year when we had lots of birds from Northern Europe, such as Russia, Norway and finland migrated here for our milder winter climate. Apparantly it had been a good breeding year in 2011, so with lots of young birds also migrating over here, we ended up with lots of birds in the country.
One particular place was a half hour drive away from here and when I heard the news that there was twenty plus birds on this one site I just had to go and check it out.

Well the first day I left work early and managed to get there at around 1'o clock in the afternoon, I had to wait for a short while before they came out to hunt which was not too long. First one came up from the middle of the field and then one from right in front of where I was standing, I had been waitng with my friend Tony and we didn't realise that it was sat just in front of us. Then another took off from nearby too, these birds really can hide very well in the long grass and can be almost impossible to spot.


After another ten to fifteen minutes had passed there were owls all over the place, seven birds were hunting in the field in front of us and there were others in the surrounding fields too. I was amazed at the sight of these fantastic looking owls hunting.......


I took a few trips over there between late November to February and had some bad luck with my timing on a few occasions. A few times just as I arrived the sun disappeared behind the clouds and really was not worth photographing in the poor light, which really wound me up as the other lads that were there had spent the last couple of hours photographing them in glorious light.

One day I did get it right though and although I did not have too much time before we lost the light behind the trees behind us I had about an hour of great passes by one particular bird which got nicknamed the "corner bird" as it always quartered the right hand corner section of the field. This Bird was stunning and came very close and enabled me to get some great images.



I was finally happy with getting some images....


and me with my kit....

The owls seemed to have their own territories in the field and every now and then a fight would break out with an intruder, the owls started calling and would make a B-line for each other.....



the crows got wise to the owls catching voles and started stealing any that they had hidden in the grass......

The only trouble was the news had got out about how many owls were there and before long, loads of people were turning up which would have been fine but a few idiots were making so much noise, that it drove the owls further out into the field and thus made it a lot harder to get any images.
This was a quiet day.....

There were nine owls roosting in these bushes one early afternoon before they started hunting, seven can be seen in this image....

I also stopped off one evening as the sun was setting at a location near the owl site, as I had seen an old building that was falling down and it looked great for some images........


It was hard work trying to get out of work early but it had paid off and I am glad I came away with some nice images of these stunning birds.
Well thats about it for now and I will be back with another post soon, thanks for looking and I will leave you with a pic of the moon, taken one night after returning home from the owls..........