Saturday, 9 March 2013

Shooting Owls in the Dark!

With a quick trip made yesterday morning for 10 minutes in the thick fog to look at the rocks around the towers for migrants, I only saw one bird, thankfully it was a year tick in the form of a Fulmar (111) which appeared from the fog briefly before banking and vanishing back into the fog as quick as it appeared. Back to this morning and I was up at 5am and out of the house shortly after where in misty but windless conditions I had a drive around the area looking for Owls. I soon pulled up and immediately heard 1 Little Owl calling and after a few minutes I moved on to another area. As I drove down a lane my lights caught some eyes looking from the top of a tree towards me. I slowed down and cautiously moved towards them and could see it was an Owl. It was partly hidden but through the binoculars I could see the orange eyes of a Long eared Owl staring back at me. Normally at this point any Owl flies off but it stayed there looking around. Reaching for the camera and trying to change lenses in the dark without making a sound was a task in itself and If I was going to get a shot at all I needed to move the car slightly so that my lights helped out. Amazingly it was still there and after a bit of shuffling around I managed to grab a few very dodgy shots. Not the best conditions for photography as you can imagine but chances like these do not come along that often. Most shots were blurred but this one just about made it through the system although I did try to change the eye colour but it looked even worse then so I have left it how I took it.

Long eared Owl

Nonetheless a fantastic time watching the Owl was had. Before I moved on to Reculver towers I noted 3 Grey Partridge and 1 Red legged Partridge. After parking up I walked down the seawall to Coldharbour and back hoping an early migrant would be hopping on the rocks but it was not to be today. In misty conditions I noted 5 Skylark, c200 Lapwing, 2 Golden Plover, c40 Brent Geese, 27 Curlew, 4 Stock Dove, 9 Meadow Pipit, 7 Grey Plover, 4 Mute Swan, 13 Oystercatcher, 13 Redshank, 4 Mallard, 28 Ringed Plover, 3 Turnstone and 6 Shelduck. There were 3 Reed Bunting, 1 Fieldfare, 1 Rock Pipit, 1 Grey Heron, 15 Dunlin, 2 Marsh Harrier, 1 Little Egret and a walk inland produced 2 Stock Dove, 5 Goldfinch, 8 Tufted Duck, 3 Wigeon, 2 Little Grebe, 8 Gadwall, 1 Pochard and 3 Mute Swan. With Mothers Day tomorrow I probably won't get out until next week. Hopefully the sun will shine and a few migrants would have appeared by then!!


  1. Nice glow from the eye and the feathers are remarkably detailed for being in the dark!

  2. Great shot Marc, would love have another one of those here :-)

  3. Well that certainly tested the camera and your skills Marc :-)

    1. Certainly testing Warren. Not sure if this is success or failure though. A bit of both maybe.

  4. Brilliant Marc. I've shot one in the evening, but shooting in the dark, fantastic.

  5. Lovely! Total Owl Envy!