Saturday, 20 January 2018

An afternoon with owls

Any day you see an owl is a good one! They have to be my favourite bird family, and having seen on RSPB in the Fens Twitter feed about some Short-eared Owls showing regularly by the Eldernell car park on the Nene Washes in Cambridgeshire, I couldn't resist a visit.   Thankfully being more diurnal than most owls, Short-eareds can be seen at all times of the day, though late afternoon is usually the best time to watch them as they ghost across rough grassland and pounce on unsuspecting rodents in the grass.

Arriving at the car park at just after 2pm, there were already several photographers waiting on the bridge for the owls to show.  Distant Whooper and Bewick's Swans, a couple of Marsh Harriers and a group of Roe Deer kept us occupied but the wait continued.  It was nearly 3.30pm when the first owl appeared, distantly at first but then came closer and was joined by at least two others, occasionally coming fairly close but most times keeping their distance.  Photographing them in flight was a challenge with the light fading all the time while still trying to get used to the autofocus options on my new camera produced a mix of results.


Just as we were about to leave, a Barn Owl began hunting by the car park, but the light really had gone for photography by that point.

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