Saturday, October 25, 2014

Farmyard Fun

Time for another post from my mini summer project on Little Owls. We are now into the start of July and I was starting to get a slightly better measure of their behaviour. Typically an owl would appear in the brick window and sit there for quite a long while waiting for the light to drop before starting its evening feeding. Many hours were spent watching a near motionless hour sat in this window. At times you had to wonder which of us was yawning more.

Where time would allow I was trying to do one or two evenings a week after work. This was always a bit of rush around which meant getting home, having some food and then driving to the site, back home and then taking the dogs out for a  late walk. Some evenings the owls would not appear until very late which meant the availability of light and time with them was very short. However, any time spent with Little Owls is always fun as they are such bold and charismatic birds.

Catching the last of the rays.

Up to this point I had only done evening sessions but decided a first light session was needed to see how the owls were behaving. Being mid-summer this required the alarm clock being set to some ridiculous hour that seemed like the middle of the night. First light summer session certainly take their toll on you around early afternoon where you seem to enter an almost zombie like state from fatigue.

Having taken quite a few portrait photos in different locations, I decided I need to try and get some more action photographs. Capturing Little Owls in flight when they are not flying into a regular spot is no easy task as they are small and fast moving. Their flight is also undulating like a green woodpecker which makes them trick to track with the camera.
This photograph below shows one of the owls jumping having just been dived upon by a swallow. As with all birds of prey they received a great deal of hassle through mobbing by other species.

As well as birds feeding, perched on the low outbuilding roof there seemed to be more activity along the gravel track that runs beside the barn. The birds certainly seemed to very active and were evidently feeding young back in the barn somewhere. The birds are quite comical when they run and I managed to get them both on the ground and 'free running' on the low outbuilding roof. They move remarkably quickly and it needs quite a bit of camera shutter speed to freeze the movement.
On one evening session around at the start of July a new bird appeared in the brick window with the first of young birds cautiously peering out. A good sign and an indication that the project could run for a few more weeks.


Anonymous said...

Stunning shots- the best I've come across actually. Do you run any photographic workshops?



Dawn Monrose said...

Fantastic shots, love the jumping one!

All the best,


Ivan Cordero said...

Wow amazing images. I'm fixing on getting doing more photography could you share with me what camera lense you used to capture such crisp images? Will be getting a canon EOS 7d Mark II but am at a loss with the lense. Ivan Cordero

Rob Stubbs said...

Great shots - love the running owls - Rob


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