March 13th, 2015 – Avian Friday: Owl Meet You Before Winter Is All Gone
Last week I shared one of my older images of a Short-eared Owl. With spring fast. approaching, I sense that any remaining wintering SEO’s in our area won’t be sticking around too much longer. So I made a point to head up to Skagit Valley on a beautiful Saturday afternoon in hopes of catching a glimpse of them. There’s an area in Stanwood just across from Camano Island where they had been spotted several weeks ago. I debated whether to try there or head further North back to Edison where I have seen them this late in the season for the past couple years.
I chose Edison which turned out to be the right move because shortly after arriving I noticed the unmistakable flight motion of an owl in the distance. There appeared to be about 2 or 3 birds making their way across the nearby field in search of an afternoon meal. I thought about trying to get out of my vehicle to make my way across the field to get a little closer, but figured it was likely private property and I’d probably end up just spooking them further away. The only way to close the gap was to slap on the teleconverters and hope that the image quality or auto-focus wouldn’t suffer too much. It was very difficult to get the camera to maintain focus lock on with the 2X teleconverter, but I managed to make a few decent images of the owl in flight. Not as much with the 1.4X, but confined to my vehicle from the side of the road, the birds were about 40-50 ft from me. One of them did get fairly close, but came up behind me and I couldn’t acquire focus for the life of me as I tried to lean the big lens out the window and pointing it backwards from a seated position. It was getting close to dusk and I had hoped they would get more active, but they must have been successful during their hunt and decided to settle in for the rest of the evening as the light faded away. I was happy to get what might have been a last look for the season of these guys.
Short-Eared Owl (Asio Flammeus)
1000mm | 1/3200th Sec. @f/8 | ISO 1250
Canon 1DX+ Canon EF 500/4L IS USM + 2X Rear Extender
Processed with Lightroom 5, Photoshop CC , Nik Define & ColorEfx Pro.
Feel free to comment below if you like what you see or have any other observations.
Thanks for stopping by,