Saturday, 4 February 2012

Short Eared Owl

On Tuesday I took our level two art students to Bristol Museum for a day's natural history drawing and I photographed this Short Eared owl specimen alongside other UK bird species.

Then this afternoon, in a brief gap between taking my children to two different birthday parties, I parked up on Sharpham Moor to have another look for the visiting Short Eared owls here in Somerset currently. In the steady snow it was hard to see anything out of the van windows so I walked along the road a little with the distant noises of the in-car DVD player behind me and the crump of my feet in the snow altered light of a very wintery afternoon. After 10 minutes scanning the hedges and fields I hadn't seen any owls and so I returned. Then as I started the engine I saw one, a couple of hundred yards ahead over the levels, banking and twisting slowly looking for voles. By the time I had pointed it out to my children and got my camera up it had dropped into the grass on top of some unfortunate rodent. Within moments I saw another and then a third, all quite some distance off. With my camera on a monopod and the 300mm lens at full reach I snapped a handful of fleeting images, just enough to at least confirm I had seen the owls. On the Somerset ornithological website someone reported seeing 6 at one time only yesterday, another unusual trait of this daylight flying winter visitor. My main impression was of a reasonably sizeable grey/brown bird with a more active hunting style than a barn owl and perhaps more hawk like than other owl's I've seen and beautiful in the snowy afternoon.

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful. Apparently their are quite a few round here but I haven't seen them!