Sunday, 29 January 2012

Another SEO Visit

Saturday was to be a day of two halves.  In the morning I would spend some time at the coast and then visit the Short Eared Owls in the afternoon.  Apart from a brief spectacular sunrise over the north sea, the morning proved uneventful so eventually headed inland to make the most of the ideal conditions to see the SEO’s.


On arrival, it wasn’t long before I saw my first owls though they were much more spread out than the last time I went there at the end of last year, as well as further away from view.  Most were just perched, awaiting dusk. Although the SEO is diurnal these ones don’t seem to be that active until near the end of the daylight hours.  Although it was hard to tell, I guessed at around 9 or 10 of them spread about and in various forms of activity and very vocal.


I switched between two different viewpoints during the afternoon.  Southward facing where they were closer (though mostly perched) and more numerous but the sun was shining towards me and into my lens and giving awkward harsh light and Northward where the light was perfect but they were much further away.


Flyby – notice the perched SEO in the background (below)


The next four images were taken looking Northwards.  They look like they were taken on a different day from the others but were simply in the opposite direction.  The low sunlight gives a much more nicer warmer light and so pleasing image than the much cooler, duller images that were taken with the lens almost directly into the low sunlight.


As the sunlight started to fade, the sporadic activity stopped as the owls seemed to find themselves each a fence post or branch to settle on, evenly spaced out over the area, as if staking their own claims ready to start hunting at dusk.


Eventually, with my cameras ISO already pushed to its maximum but only getting 1/100th of a second, and the remaining sun light disappearing behind some clouds, I called it a day.  Hopefully, I will get to see the owls one more time before they disperse as Spring approaches.


Sunday, 22 January 2012

A Belated Post

Last week was the first time in nearly a month that I managed to get out, largely down to the monotonous grey, windy, damp weather but on this case, despite being cold, it was sunny and only a slight breeze.  I wasn’t originally going to post anything as it was an uneventful day and I was really just out for a walk but I thought I should keep the blog ticking over.

Large waves were crashing ashore along the beach I was walking along despite the lack of any real wind and I decided just to sit and enjoy the spectacle and fresh air.  The only wildlife about were a various assortment of gulls and a few shore birds darting amongst the rocks.


Watching, I noticed sometimes a gull would break off from flying higher up and do a ‘daredevil’ run along the crest of the waves, nearly getting caught by the breaking onrush. I was amazed that none did – the one below nearly ended up swamped.  I don’t know why it was worth the risk, certainly no food incentive that I could see.


This Oystercatcher was also getting in on the act, stopping off onto a rock and only at the last minute just missing an incoming wave though it didn’t stop it coming back again.


Despite an enjoyable walk, my first outing out of the new year remained uneventful with most of the gulls some distant offshore or high on the cliff ledges.