Sunday, 23 November 2014

Barn Owls on a Rainy Day!

As its currently raining hard late morning in East Kent and no chance of getting out I thought I would spend some time going through some of my unpublished Barn Owl shots from the past week. I have spent c30 years birding and have seen many Barn Owls over the years but the experience I have had in the past few sessions has topped all of my sightings of this species. They really are iconic birds and a pleasure to watch and photograph. I hope you enjoy some of the shots below.

Barn Owl

Thursday, 20 November 2014

An Evening with the Barn Owls

After last weeks Barn Owl session with Chiddy I was very keen to return to not only watch these beauties at close range but also to see if I could improve upon my images so last night I arrived at the site about 6pm and hoped I was in for a good night. The first hour was very quiet, just a couple of brief sightings of 2 Barn Owls as they flew through the beam on the car lights but plenty of mouse/vole action as they dashed over the road from side to side. I was starting to think that it was not going to be my night when just after 7pm I picked out a Barn Owl in the road with a fresh kill. I slowly drove up to it and it quite happily stayed where it was and continued to feed. Although not the best light I managed to get a few shots including this action shot which didn't turn out too bad.

Barn Owl

Eventually after swallowing the prey it flew off and landed on a post. I carried on seeing a further 2 more Barn Owls and the next 45 minutes was spent getting a number of images which I think have improved from last time.

Barn Owl

At times they even flew nearer the car and the camera wasn't needed, just a lovely stunning close view of these stunning birds. With a few shots gained and another successful mission I left about 8.15pm a very happy man. 

Barn Owl

Monday, 17 November 2014

Birding Heaven!

There are a few photos of birds that I have always wanted to get, a Kingfisher on a perch with a fish and a Barn Owl perched in the dark. Last night I was treated to one of my best birding experiences to date when I joined Chidders at an undisclosed site where we hoped for a good show from the Owls. Chidders had already managed some good shots on previous sessions and I hoped I could not only see a Barn Owl at close quarters but maybe get a shot that I had always wanted. Not long after arrival we were soon watching up to 4 Barn Owls perched at close quarters along with 1 Short eared Owl where the views were utterly breathtaking, words cannot describe the feeling I had watching these birds at close range. Chidders sorted out the settings on my camera and I was soon leaning out of the window firing off a few shots. It was a bit of trial and error, many shots not quite working out well but a few come out alright and considering my first attempt, I left very happy with the shots I got and learnt a lot about the settings I need to use. Most of my successful attempts were taken with the Canon f4 300mm lens as often believe it or not, using the 1.4 converter, I was too close! Such a fantastic birding experience and just to see and watch these birds at close range was breathtaking. I can't wait to go back and hopefully improve upon the shots I have already got, I think there is plenty of room for improvement! A massive thanks to Chidders for taking me to the site and giving me one of the best birding moments I have ever had.

Barn Owl

Monday, 10 November 2014

Back to the Desert at Reculver!

With an afternoon of sunshine yesterday forecast I spent a couple of glorious hours at Reculver where the Desert Wheatear was the main target for the camera. Although quite happy with my previous results I thought I could improve upon some of them as they looked a bit washed out. The bird is very pale anyway and it was a challenge sometimes to get it right so armed with a few setting plans I set up and got ready for plenty of action along with a few other birders. It was a near perfect afternoon on the patch, a rare bird showing well, beautiful sunshine, little wind and good company, more more could you want, well a close Puffin would have been nice but that will have to wait. After taking a few more hundred shots I ended up with a few images I was quite happy with. The late afternoon sun made for some nice colours on the bird which hopefully I caught in some shots. A very nice way to spend a Sunday afternoon. 

Male Desert Wheatear