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Short eared Owl

Short eared Owl

Berkshire Downs, UK. 13 December 2014
EOS 7D with EF 400mmf4 DO & x1.4TC

This location can be good for SEO's in winter and with a brilliant sunny afternoon in prospect I decided I would try again for photos of this splendid species. Arriving on-site I was amazed to find a couple of birds tussling in the air, but they were a little distant. I then settled down in a likely spot and waited to see whether anything would appear more closely, as I'd previously had very limited success trying to get close to particular birds here. In due course I got some reasonable flight shots of one. After a while, with the sun getting very low in the sky I thought it was time to head back before it got dark.

Imagine my surprise when another bird appeared quite close and even seemed to divert its course to approach me! It then landed in a bush not too far away, and so I decided to try to get closer. A steady slow approach worked remarkably well, and I was essentially able to walk up to this bird, choosing my direction carefully to try to get the sun as much as possible behind me. At the point I took this photo I found my way blocked by a bush, and I couldn't get completely between the sun and the bird without moving towards it. Of course, the moment I tried to do this, it was off. Nevertheless, this is by far the best settled SEO photo I have ever obtained, with the setting sun giving it a remarkable golden hue.

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