Wednesday, 24 February 2016

Short-eared Owl

Another lovely day for bird photography but initially very little to photograph. Fortunately it all came good at the end of the day.

We had started off at Warnham LNR hoping to see Redpolls and the Brambling that had been reported there over the weekend. Neither showed and we were left with a couple of Siskin and the usual range of birds on the feeders. The highlight was probably this Bank Vole putting in an occasional and very fleeting appearance.

Bank Vole

And a quick visit from a Jay.


With Reed Buntings making up the numbers.

Reed Bunting

Reed Bunting

We moved on to Pulborough Brooks which proved to be a slight improvement. We saw Bullfinches and Ruff but the former were feeding deep within a hedge and the later were too far away for a picture. A pity really, as one of the Ruff looked to be showing a white collar, perhaps the start of its display plumage.

There were also Fieldfare and Redwing feeding in the fields but I only had this one picture opportunity.


We decided to finish the day at Waltham Brooks looking for Owls. As it turned out, it was a good decision. There was no Barn Owl but we did have two Short-eared Owl quartering the brooks. The pictures never really do justice to the magic of seeing the owls but it is still nice to get them.

Short-eared Owl

The second Short-eared Owl

The lighting is different in these two pictures but the wing markings suggest that these are two different birds. The first bird showing much more contrast in its plumage whilst the second is the more usual rufous colouration.

Eventually one of the birds settled in a tree about one hundred and fifty metres away and seemed content to stay there a while.

Too good a chance to miss

Having made sure that none of the other birders present objected I decided to try to get a little closer. Yet another photographer trying to spook the bird I hear you say. Well I did get a lot closer and I did get some good pictures but when I backed off the bird was still sitting in its tree looking quite relaxed. The birders were probably more upset as they would have liked to see it flying again.

The sad thing is that I have delete around a hundred pictures that are arguably just as good as the ones above.

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