Thursday, April 3, 2008

Barred Owl Best & Last

I went back to find the Barred Owl at its day roost location, because the day was PERFECT. It was 50 degrees, sunny, and very little wind. I had to try out my new lens (400), verses my old (300) one. He was at his usual branch, so finding him was easy. I wanted to get in and get out without disturbing him too much. If I could get my shots and leave without a fly off, the day would be a total success, because I always feel bad when I disrupt ANY animal's day. I would feel horrible if this owls interpretation of his own safety led him to find a new roost. I could no longer enjoy his beauty, although I hoped today would be my last time shooting him.

I found a decent angle with the fewest branches obstructing his face and took some shots. I stayed there for a good 15 minutes, before I decided to leave, and when I saw him close his eyes and take a nap, I knew he had to be O.K. with my presence.

I left in the opposite direction and continued on my way, looking for migrants. As I left that area, a few people with RC cars were racing their way towards the woods. I wondered if the noise of these things would disturb my owl.

I made my rounds through the forest, keeping my distance from all the noise and eventually headed back to the car. As I put my equipment away, I thought that the guys were too close to the woods, so I thought maybe I could go back with my equipment, hopefully causing them to move out, thinking they would think THEY were disturbing me. My plan worked. They left that part of the park, and since I had my tripod with me, I thought maybe I could get some really sharp shots with this "perfect day" opportunity. I didn't want a reason to come back to shoot him again, I just wanted to leave him in his peace. As I entered the woods, I knew immediately that he wasn't there. Those noises must have flushed him to a quieter area. That was O.K. with me, because I got the shots I already had without flushing him, anyway. As I walked around looking for birds, he caught my eye again in another tree on the far end of the forest. This tree was much better for photos, because the limbs and branches were not obstructing everything. I set up, got my shots, and walked out again, without flushing. It was a GREAT day!


Owlman said...

AMAZING shots! Getting owl shots like this is rare. Would you consider sharing this roost with other birders? I guess I'm just interested based on my poll this month.

I take it that these pics were taken with the new SUPER lens - very crisp well done! You must be loving the new lens. I have the 75-300 IS at the moment and I would love to trade up to a 'real' birding lens.

beckie said...

The new lens works great. He does seem to be okay with your taking his pic. Good for you shooing away the noise makers. You must have keen eyes to see owls in trees that are almost the same color.

HANNIBAL said...

@Owlman-Thanks, I was thrilled with how the shots came out. Also, I took your poll, and basically, I would only reveal owl roosts to people I know personally, and has the same values & respect for nature.
New lens: I am VERY happy with it. I did have 50-500mm Sigma, but this one really rocks. The 75-300mm was great for handheld, but I am getting along with this one which is twice as heavy. I thought I would miss the 300 but so far, I don't.-Good Luck, take the leap if you can-its worth it!

@Beckie-Thank you! It took me a year to finally find him. I feel like a pro, spotting him became easy. I hope to be a better spotter from this experience!

Owlman said...

Are you planning to stick an extender on the lens? I'd like to see what you think about the results. Putting a 1.4 or 2X converter will give you some serious distance for photography although you're probably looking at a mono or tripod at that stage.

Ecobirder said...

Nice shots. I am glad that you like your new lens. I think that the canon 100-400 IS lens is probably the best lens for hand held shots.