On the mend

17th March 2012
At last my back is finally better. It's been a long road to recovery and although I managed to get out during the recovery process I was still in a great deal of pain, but thankfully I can now drive and generally do what I was doing before I damaged it... within reason of course.

This update will be about the Short Eared Owls again - as most people know this year has been an exceptional year for the SEOs in this country and I was lucky enough to have them close by my home and in great numbers.
I'm not sure how many visits I made to the SEO site but it wasn't all plain sailing, as you can see from my other entries there was a huge amount of people turning up which in turn caused a few problems. Also,the owls didn't always fly when you expected them to and although some days the conditions were ideal, they wouldn't fly until late afternoon. As I always liked to arrive on site nice and early this could mean long periods of time with nothing happening, so I turned my attention to other birds that were around the site to pass the time.

Unfortunately these other birds proved more difficult to photograph than the Owls, there was lots of Skylarks about but they were impossible to get near and the Bullfinches were just as frustrating as the Skylarks. My luck changed with a few Yellow Hammers that were flitting about although I only managed a few shots before dog walkers scared them off..





There was also a few Wrens around too but it took me hours to get a clean shot of one..





Pheasants were about in good numbers but they too were very difficult to approach, I think mainly due to them being shot at most days, it sounded like a war zone on some days,poor things...



That Pheasant never came any closer to me but while I was sitting waiting to see if it would I noticed a female Kestrel perched in a nearby tree..



As I was looking through my view finder at her she suddenly swooped down onto the field,grabbed a worm, ate it and then flew back to a different perch.



It was extremely windy on this day and instead of using up too much energy trying to hover in such strong winds she was hunting worms using the trees as observation points to scan the field.

It wasn't long before she was perched up very near to me although I couldn't get a clean shot, I just prayed she would drop down close by and as luck would have it she dropped down right in front of me... Yeeeeesssss....







She certainly saved the day for me, the wind was way too strong for the Owls to hunt and even though I stayed until dark I never saw an Owl that day.

Opportunities to photograph the Owls became less and less as the days started to get longer. The Owls started to come out to hunt much later in the afternoon leaving very little good light to work with but I still managed a few good shots and overall it was a fantastic winter and one I won't forget in a hurry.









A few close up shots of these beautiful Owls..





My last visit to the site was when we had a good covering of snow, I was hoping they would be very active although it's normally harder for them to hunt with the ground covered in snow, plus they need more food when the temperature drops as low as it did. Unfortunately they didn't do that much hunting and my theory about them needing to hunt more when it's cold was out of the window. I did however get some nice perched shots that I was very pleased with..





That's it for now,thanks for looking...