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Short-eared Owl

Short-eared Owl / Long-eared Owl

With this wild weather, snow, rain, sun, wind ect, I can't imagine how our Owls are evening managing to hunt. If we get another break in the weather, I may just have another session on these beautiful birds before they start heading off to their breeding territories. 

Short-eared Owl Extended

Short-eared Owl Extended

Todays location was totally unplanned but I intended on getting somewhere really early... It ended up being Rumney for the Shorties but what I wasn't intending to get was a Barn AND Short-eared Owl in one shot!.. Now, some would call this shot a 'failed' shot and others 'arty'.. personally though, I don't care, it has a Barn Owl and Short-eared Owl in it! haha. In my defence, this was 6:00am and the Sun hadn't even come out yet.. 

After the morning session I decided to travel to Lydney to re-find a nature reserve called Nagshead. That trip was an epic fail however as the post code was wrong and I got lost... So I ended up coming straight back for an evening session on the Owls again. 

When I arrived back at the same site, it seemed that everyone was making the most of good weather as 7 photographers were spread out in the fields. Luckily my little spot was free so I tucked myself up, got the camo on and hunkered down for another few hours. Every single photographer in the area gave up after what seemed like a complete no show from the Owls.. that was until, everyone else had gone! Because literally as soon as they all left, I counted 11 Shorties hunting the very spots they were setup by. This goes to show that you must always have patience! Me included as I did move from my original spot and it meant missing a perched opportunity. I still had a great time with the Owls and with better light today, I was able to get slightly sharper flight shots even as the light faded. 


More Shorties

No matter what angle, these birds pose really well for the Camera. Was so nice sitting in a hide watching 6-7 of these birds hunting the meadows as the Sun dropped behind the horizon. 

Short-eared Owls

I've been planning a trip to see a winter hotspot for Short-eared Owls and I finally got around to visiting. I've seen some great photographs coming out of this place but I didn't want to just turn up and hope for the best. I got tips of the locals and off renown wildlife photographer Mike Warburton in order approach the site as best (and safely) as I could. I still had a hard time to be honest but coming home with some photographs at-least. I think my next visit (depending on weather conditions) should be a lot better as today I really got to know the site well enough to know what to do and what not to do. All of these photographs are heavily cropped but light was decent so shouldn't show to much. 

Early arrival of Painted Lady Butterflies!

Rumour has it that Painted Ladies are already turning up in the UK. Painted Ladies are usually spring/summer migrants much like our Swallows so it came as a shock to me to find out that they were already turning up! infact, I didn't believe it! That was until I was treated to a flyby today around midday at Peterstone Coastal Path! Myself and Philip Yendle were pretty taken back at this sighting, so much so that it distracted us for a while from the Short Eared Owls. I didn't however manage to get a photograph as the Butterfly had the wind behind it and landed somewhere in amongst the reeds. Typical. My intended trip was meant for the Short Eared Owls as this spot is notorious for holding good numbers of SEO throughout the winter months. We only spotted one distant bird so nothing great to show you but I intend of visiting again in a couple weeks time now knowing where the best spots are. 

Heather Monitoring with Surprise Bird!

Todays heather monitoring went really well! Only had little showers but for the most part it remained really warm and sunny. Only a few grasshoppers on the uplands now though and plenty of movement with the Meadow Pipits, Skylarks and Swallows so 'term has ended' for this years summer birds. On that note though, a typically 'winter bird' was flushed on our travels and we were shocked to find out it was a Short-eared Owl! This was a first for me so at that point my excitement levels hit the roof. The bird remained on topic for the rest of our trip but we had work todo so couldn't get too distracted. We covered a very large distance today but I won't give away location incase this particular owl was on breeding territory. It's not impossible though that it was just an early winter visitor.