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Desperate For Some Nature, So I Visited The Local Little Owl

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The last 2 days have been early starts for 2 days of workshops and even though I’ve had a lot of fun, I was missing my dose of nature.

The late afternoon light was looking great so I paid the local Little Owl a visit, I made my way through some Esteva (Gum Rock Rose) and now I’m sitting here removing ticks! YUCK!

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Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
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A Local Little Owl

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Portugal has a large population of Little Owls and can often be heard calling and seen at anytime of day. However, locally to myself they are not found in large numbers. 2 years ago I spotted one near the Quinta on a few occasions but then never seen again. Until yesterday, I was heading into the village late afternoon and I spotted one sitting on the electricity cable in the same place I spotted one before.

This afternoon I decided to take a look and there it was sitting on an old tree stump. I almost missed it as it blended in so well. Armed with just my 80-400 lens I snapped these shots. It was incredibly tolerant of me being there too letting me get very close. As they are quite small, I need to go back with my 500mm lens (maybe even with the 1.4x converter) to grab some great detail shots. Hopefully more pictures soon, but for now, here you go.

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Little Owl - Mocho-galego - Athene noctua
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Possible Local Sighting Of A Short Eared Owl

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In March 2016 I spent many cold mornings and evenings standing in a Derbyshire (England) field watching and photographing a pair of Short Eared Owls hunting. After so much time waiting and watching I developed a fascination of these incredible hunters.

Whilst driving/riding (still don’t what to call it when you are on a Quad Bike) near a flood plain this afternoon, something caught the corner of my eye. It was a bird of prey hunting. I wasn’t close enough to identify it, however, it was flying low over perfect Short Eared Owl hunting terrain and performing swooping acrobatics I remembered from my time the Derbyshire field.

I’m still to have my 500mm f/4 lens returned from Nikon and now it’s becoming frustrating as I’ll need it to have any chance of capturing some good shots.

As a throwback, here is my gallery from last time with Short Eared Owls and can only hope my 500mm f/4 is returned soon.

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Short Eared Owls

A very short appearance by a Short Eared Owl this afternoon

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I waited for an hour for one to take to appear, it did one lap of the field (unfortunately too far away from me) then landed in the long grass for 5 minutes before clearing off not to be seen again.

I did manage to get close enough to take a shot of it sitting in the grass.

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Short Eared Owl - D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 @ 500mm, f/5.6, ISO280, 1/400sec - {Flickr Link}

Backlit Short Eared Owl

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This photo of a Shortie is taken into the Sunrise. It wasn’t too long after the sun had come above the tree line (just to the right of shot). The camera’s light meter is taking it’s reading from the light around the Owl. The light shinning through it’s wings was very bright which results in the camera underexposing the Owl add that to the -1 stop of exposure I had dialled in making the shot even darker and giving this backlit effect. Of course, post editing in Lightroom was needed to give the final effect.

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Backlit Shortie - D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 with TC-14III @ 700mm, f/5.6, ISO3600, 1/800sec - {Flickr Link}

Short Eared Owls

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This morning I was again out well before first light in hope that the Short Eared Owls would co-operate.

Over the last few trips, I’ve fired off around 20 shots, this morning I’ve almost 900 shots to go through and it’ll take a while to go through them all.

It was an amazing sighting this morning with both Owls flying around looking for food. In fact, there may have been 3 different Owls, but that’s not confirmed. I also heard 2 Little Owls calling to each other too.

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Short Eared Owl
In Flight – D810, AF-S 500mm f/4 with TC-14III @ 700mm, f/5.6, ISO1000, 1/1000sec – {Flickr Link}

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