Saturday, 3 December 2011

The slow approach.

Arriving at dawn there were 11 Short-eared Owls sitting in their usual places. Mitch and I decided on where we were going to wait and set up our camo capes about 200 yds apart. We waited and waited with one of the poorest days yet,! Considering good light it was very frustrating.
 A few birders arrived and the regular dog walker, pushing a few out on the marsh and a few our way.
Later, a bird flew around and in my direction, would it come to land on the log about 25 yds in front of me? I watched it and never moved, not raising the camera. It dropped on to the log, I took a few shots and waited for it to settle, realizing I was in a position for some fantastic shots but still a bit too far!
Wind direction must have changed because suddenly a cloud of smoke covered the Wharf, though it eventually cleared.
I knew the closer I got the better the shots would be. The light was now deteriorating, I lifted the cape with the tripod legs and crawled about a yard closer. By now my feet were frozen and hurting (forgotten how cold wellies can be) set up and focus on the bird and it was still there, every time I moved I checked the Owl, by now it was settled, inched forward again and cramp got the better of me, also my knees were freezing from the puddled grass. Took more shots, moved closer, sometimes just a few inches, I could here a Buzzard above me which startled the Owl, it again settled and I moved closer, my back was now breaking and I tried to stretch to help. This was the opportunity I had been waiting for and I didn`t want to blow it! The only thing outside the cape I could see was through the lens, I looked and still it was there, though moved back a few inches hiding it`s feet, Feeling wet and frozen stiff and in a little pain with my back I gave it one more go, looked up, still there. The light which was not at all good suddenly changed for just 2 minutes the light broke through and it lit up, fired off a series of shots! It never seemed to do much just preened a little and dozed.
It must have taken me about an hour to move about 15 yards or so. The light then went completely and I moved back. What a brilliant experience!


  1. Nice set of images , a man has to suffer for his art !!
    for me its the 4th image , nice one .

  2. I was suffering more than you Steve knowing you were eyeball to eyeball with the bird and watching every moment knowing you were nailing it and all i had was grass with the aches and pains.Fantastic images!

  3. Your chance will come. That I am sure!!

  4. Brilliant set of images Steve,you deserved these fantastic shots for the effort put in,very well done indeed.

  5. Well done Steve, a great series of images of the seo, the suffering you went through has now gone but these images will last forever! I admire anyone who puts the effort into their craft, the rewards are just. I too have positioned a nice log at a seo site near to me, many hours have so far been invested (and with icey feet) but they haven't landed on it yet!!! Well done again.