Wednesday I decided to go looking for and photograph short-eared owls. The first thing that I did was to telephone the visitor center, at Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge. The fields by the parking lot, are a favorite place for the owls to hunt in the late afternoon. Speaking to the person who answered the phone, he notified me that there had been reports of short-eared owls found on the refuge, but nothing recently. After listening to that statement, I then chose to go out to the Cumberland Fields IBA, where in the past years I have found short-eared owls. I chose one of my favorite locations at the Perkins Lot old cemetery located off of Wood St., Halifax. When we arrived, the sky was overcast but clearing toward the northwest.
While awaiting the arrival hopefully of the owls, I took a few images of the cemetery and the bare-branched tree reaching toward the clouds.
Approximately 1/2 hour before sunset, we observed off to our right a bird flying, and as it approached, It proved to be a short-eared owl. It flew from right to left down toward the end of the field and then it returned diving into the grassy areas looking for prey. Finally, we had at various times a total of four different owls flying around. The Owls also jumped a northern harrier, and there was some interaction between both of the birds.
As the sun sank lower in the sky photographing to our left was into shadows and to our right into the setting sun. Most of the images are habitat in nature, but we did get some closer photographs of the owl.
The Owls did not seem afraid of us, and I bet if I were wearing camouflage they would approach even closer. We waited for the owls to approach us and we did not chase the owls but allowed them to go about their business, looking for nourishment. Yes, a close-up shot with been great, but not at the expense of harassing the subject doing its regular activity.
Respect nature, have good ethical practices and the time will come when you can get the image that you wanted.