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Saturday, October 31, 2015

The Halloween Owl, Soil Hill

            Migrant bird for Soil Hill, Long Eared Owl.


    Distant shots in fading light with trembling hands.

With NKs Wigeon in mind on Soil Hill and then JLs Stonechat off I went late afternoon in rapidly fading light with the intention of  getting some half decent Wigeon shots. A quick look on the Ned Hill track failed to produce Stonechat so a dash up the hill and down the other side towards the NK pond. The ducks were out on the water but at the distance were just silhouetted blobs and far too dark for photos. I took some snaps from as near as you can get which is still a great distance away now with excavation work on going, which later showed me there were 2 female Wigeon, 2 Teal and the rest Mallards, that was disappointment number 2.
As I scrambled down the north slope a raptor type bird flew ahead of me through the trees, kestrel thought I until it did it again and alarm bells rang.
Dropping down into the grass, wet grass that is, I got a fix on the birds position in the trees and slowly moved closer. The bird then broke cover from the trees before gliding back into them leading me on to Short Eared Owl. When I calmed down and my brain clicked in I thought whats a SEO doing in trees and why is it so dark.
After a few minutes the owl dropped onto a post briefly but very distant so a quick snap and check the photo Long Eared Owl !!!. Immediately then it flew out into the open and low across the Shay and out of sight.
Scaling back up the hill with the new 2 cwt lens round my neck I saw a quick glimpse of what I thought was the owl up by Jack Snipe alley so as I got to the top I strode very gingerly out onto the track. A look to the left, nothing, a look to the right, eck there it was sat on a fence post not 12 feet away from me. As we stared at each other I slowly started to lift the camera with visions of photo of the year but the owl had other ideas and glided neatly off the post and back down the hill.
Oh well, at least I got some record shots.
On the way back I checked Raggalds Flood which held a few Lapwing and very little water.
I don,t like Halloween but this one was ok.
BS

12 comments:

Dave Sutcliffe said...

Very well done Bri to get such good shots from a very elusive bird in autumn daylight. Great stuff....

Dave Sutcliffe said...

What lens is that then Bri ?? paid dividends...

Brian Sumner . said...

Sigma 150-600mm on a Canon 7d camera. Only second time out with it so not used to it yet. Weights about the same as a Land Rover gearbox, its the size of a drainpipe with a dustbin welded on the end.

Bradshaw Rambler said...

Stonking photos Bri.
Well done - a just reward for all that "heavy mist' you've had to endure of late.
John

Brian Sumner . said...

Probably have to endure some more in the morning yet John.

Dave Sutcliffe said...

I think the Leo's I've seen in daylight look much darker on the back than shorties and the finer barring on the tail stands out on your shots today.
You need a Sherpa. !!!

Tracy said...

I am so jealous! Fab shots Brian.

Brian Sumner . said...

It was the darkness that stood out Dave.

You need one filmed with your garden cam Tracy.

Danny said...

Great find Brian & fantastic pictures of the Owl.

Howard Creber said...

Reight do Fog.

Tracy said...

I doubt that up here Brian.

Dave Brotherton Photography said...

Cracking weekend for you Brian, top pics mate