Sunday, December 9th, 2018
I have a treat for all of you today!
A little behind the scenes to give you a glance into what it sometimes takes to get an image in wildlife photography…interested?
If so, let’s go. First, yes, that is our lovely lady – our Barred Owl. Paul and I saw both her and her mate today, but my main image today isn’t where we originally found them. My main image is where we actually ended our afternoon.
Paul and I have a trail camera out in our woods on the south side, as that’s where the deer have been moving. In past seasons, we’ve had it at the main entrance of our woods, more on the southwest side, and in going out to change the memory card we got occasional glances at the owls so we knew they were around. However, with their exceptional hearing and sight, they always knew we were coming and flew.
Today I think the sun was in our favor; the cool temperatures, no wind, and full sunshine gave all animals a little bit of a reprieve today. Lots of sunbathing for critters all over the wildlife (and farm) spectrum.
As Paul and I made our loop around the west side of the woods, we saw an owl flush. Just a simple flash of wings weaving through the trees; quote honestly, it’s always a disappointment when that happens. My opportunity is gone at that point.
Frustrated and disappointed we scanned the trees, didn’t see anything, and turned to leave. Out of my peripheries I saw an owl-shaped light colored spot.
Sure enough, there she was.
So I started moving to try and get a clearer shot of her.
Better, but since she seemed sleepy and not in a hurry to go anywhere, I kept moving.
Better, now just to have her look at me again.
But instead, she flew – but only to a neighboring tree!
So we started moving again…
It was amazing – she simply watched us move around. No alarm, no concern. She actually has her eyes closed for most of our moving around. Although these photos make it seem that we moved quickly, keep in mind we took small steps, slowly, gently to position ourselves. We wanted to disrupt her as little as possible; we also made sure to move parallel to her (not directly at her), and avoid eye contact, which she could perceive as a threat.
She did tree hop for a third time. Unfortunately, she put herself into undesirable light, so Paul and I kept moving, hoping she’d stay put long enough to circle around in front of her again.
This time, it took longer to get back into position. We were directly behind her, but wanted to be in front of her.
So here we go again…
She’s looking over her right shoulder here – she had swiveled her head all the way around.Soaking in the sun.
And here we are, at the final result.
Truly remarkable. We stood and just admired her for a few minutes, watched her snooze in the sun until she eventually decided to move on.
She only went to a neighboring tree, but didn’t want to harass her, so we went on our way. She was a great sport for us, and we didn’t want to stress her at all; we’d like her to accept our presence for future sightings, so to do that we needed to give her space.
What a treat! We usually only get a good look at her once a year, usually in dreary March, so this was so much fun.
While perhaps a little image overload, I hope this was interesting for you! She is a beautiful bird, and it was quite the privilege to spend so much time with her today.