September 4th, 2015 – Avian Friday: Better Run For Cover
Each winter here in Western Washington we have several different species of owls that migrate through the region. Short-eared Owls can usually be seen in an around the rich estuarine and fresh water habitat in the Skagit Valley delta that normally host an abundant supply of voles, rodents and other small mammals that they feed on during their cold-weather migration. I first encountered these birds around the Rawlins Road area prior to the recent developmental efforts to restore habitat to the area that has been adversely affected by irrigation practices for agriculture. Partial removal of the dikes here is supposed to eventually restore landscape ecological processes and help open up impeded fish passages in the tidal marsh areas of the river delta. The modifications though seemed to have reduced the numbers of voles that the owls and Northern Harriers would feed on. I haven’t them there since or hear of any owls reported there. During a couple of my visits to the area I was fortunate to be able to have some pretty close encounters with the owls and managed to capture some nice images of them including this one during an active hunt.
Short-Eared Owl. Fir Island, Washington
Canon 1D Mark II, Canon EF-500/f4 IS + 1.4X Extender , 700mm, f/6.3, 1/2000th Sec, ISO 500, Hand-held. Post processing -Lightroom CC, Photoshop CC, Nik Define/ColorEfx.
To see a larger version or please click on the image.
Feel free to comment below if you like what you see or have any other observations.
Thanks for stopping by,