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"Owl Winter" - Short-eared Owl

Photo Information
Copyright: Nigel Deacon (Merlin) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 445 W: 267 N: 455] (1713)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2012-04-01
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D300
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-04-04 4:34
Viewed: 2570
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The winter of 2011-12 will probably always be remembered by me as "owl winter" because of the exceptionally large numbers of short-eared owls that arrived in the UK. Up to 8 birds could be seen at once at a local site, with no barriers between the birds and their observers. The owls were completely at ease with people nearby - in fact, they were often curious and would fly toward a person and study him/her with those great yellow eyes from just a few metres, which is a spine-tingling experience. If only all human/wildlife interactions could be like this.

The short-eared owl Asio flammeus is unusual in that it often hunts by day, particularly in poor light or in the late afternoon, which gives us a rare opportunity to observe owl behaviour. they hunt over open grassland, quartering the ground in slow, steady flight just a metre or two from the ground, before abruptly slamming down onto some unsuspecting rodent.

I have spent many hours watching and photographing these birds, and the image posted here is from last Sunday, taken in the warm light of the setting sun. I was sitting on the car bonnet alongside a remote country road in plain view. The shot was taken with the 300mm f/2.8 with TC-14EII converter. I "cooled" the white balance a little from the original exposure, but have allowed some warm tones to remain, as it better reflects the sunset lighting.

These birds will all be gone from my area very soon, heading back to their breeding grounds in the north.

cobra112, pegos, Pitoncle, maurydv, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Nigel. Oustanding! Great detailed and sharpened pic. Magnificent colour resusts.


  • Great 
  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2012-04-04 6:08]

Another fine flight image of this beautiful owl, fine viewpoint and pose captured well. tfs.

  • Great 
  • pegos Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 222 W: 0 N: 356] (1982)
  • [2012-04-04 6:38]

Wonderful image, Nigel!
Excellent sharpness and timing; perfect POV and beautiful light. A beauty!

Bonjour Nigel,
Bonne coordination de la vitesse et de la profondeur de champ permettant d'apprécier le sujet dans une belle attitude.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

Hello Nigel,
Another wonderful capture of a splendid bird. I never have the luck to meet in the wild this amazing bird. Difficult shot to catch in flight such a wonderful bird.
Thanks for sharing!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-04-04 7:43]

Hello Nigel,
Fantastic photo of this owl in flight. Taken from a perfect POV. Excellent sharpness, details, DOF and very beautiful light and colours. Professional quality!

We had the same large influx here, in the USA it was snowy owls, probably due to the great summer a lot of arctic owls had large number of youngs, these inexperienced birds migrated south for food and are not too used too people, probably the same counts for this short eared owl. I didn't manage to get is flying tho, only on a post or in the field


ps they have left here already

Hello Nigel,
Excellent photo of this flying Asio flammeus, TFS!

amazing flight capture, TFS Ori

Ciao Nigel, great capture of lovely owl in fantastic fly, perfect focus on beautiful eye, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2012-04-04 13:04]

Hello Nigel.
Beautiful shot this owl in flight. U have captured a nie posture. Also very good colours.Best regards Siggi

Hi Nigel,

Last couple of your BIF shots are perpendicular to flight path at level heights. The pose is hands up & one glaring yellow eye is sharply captured. Splendid I must say.


Hello Nigel
Another impressive in flight photo with excellent composition, wonderful lighting and good sharpness

Hallo Nigel,
a superb capture of the Short-eared Owl in flight, this bird of prey is rare in Italy and it hardly flies by day, fine details and great eye contact.
Thanks for your workshop, it is very useful
Best regards

wonderful in flight scene and shot, very fine photo performance!
regards Nigel

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2012-04-11 21:35]

Hi Nigel,
It is SO nice to hear from you. Hope you are well!
This is a spectacular in flight shot of this owl.
The light is beautiful, and those eyes!
From your notes, it sounds like it was quite exciting to see so many of these birds together, and so close up.
TFS : )

Hi Nigel,

The point of view is showing the details and colors of the Short-eared Owl in flight. The light blur of the wing tips is indicating movement. The early evening light is bringing out the colors. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • deons Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 0 N: 55] (595)
  • [2012-08-15 5:33]

Hi Nigel.
A lovely in-flight photo of the Owl, sharp and well exposed. Thanks again for you feedback on my post.

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