Wednesday, 16 February 2011

Barn Owls - long overdue post

I am coming to the conclusion that I am not that keen on processing images anymore and need to give myself a bit of a stern talking too.

This post is long overdue from my 'Between Christmas & New Year' trip that Jac and I took to North Norfolk.  Previous posts can be found on other birds and Seals

Now the main reason I went, apart from to have a nice break,was to get some more Barn Owl pictures and I was not disappointed.

I was worried before I went as the severely cold weather of December could have had a serious effect on the numbers.  Now while this is true across some parts of the country as reported here, here and here, it didn't seem to be the case in a small area that we went to.  On our first day there, we counted ten separate individual birds in a number of different locations.

Thee nice thing is that we were able to find all of these birds based on studying the type of terrain, some previous site knowledge that I had and knowing the type of habitat,

Sadly, as mentioned in the previous blogs the light was awful and so had to make the best of a bad job.

My best moment came at one location was I was tucked up in a gateway with a large hedge on either side of me, nestled into the hedgerow.  Keeping perfectly still the Owl came closer and closer until it got too close to even attempt to photograph so I just watched it.  I guess it finally noticed a  little head movement from me when it got less that 2 metres from me, at which point is stopped its progress, did a quick hover and returned away from where it came.  A truly stunning  moment and one that I will cherish forever.  Would I have like a photo?  Yes of course I would, but I am very happy with the memory and the experience.

So here are a few images and experiences that I am happy to share with our blog readers.

There's one in there - right in the middle of the grass.  A tiny dot that I found with my binoculars

Same bird coming towards me - big crop to the image

Same bird  - a more enviro type of shot  (Read for that - too far away)

Same sort of distance away, but a bigger crop.  Stooping for a kill

These two were a different bird in a different location - about 1 1/2 miles from the first bird above.

A third bird but at the second location - and much last

Fourth bird, right by the main road, in yet another location.  Much darker colouring

So there we are,  a few of Norfolk's finest. Lets hope they continue to thrive there.  All of the images were taken with the Canon 7D, 500f4 and 1,4 converter.  Every bit of reach needed.  Sadly no lovely golden sunrise or sunsets, or clear sharp winter light -  just mist, murk and general clag!!!  So ISO's were either 800 or 1600


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