I've been concentrating on wintering owls lately and these Short-eared Owls are the toughest to nail. They come out at dusk, so a very high ISO is necessary to get any "clean" images. "Clean" is a bit of an oxymoron as higher ISO's make for a very "dirty" image. Lets break this down a little further for those of you who don't necessarily understand: See, when you boost the sensitivity of your image sensor by selecting a higher ISO, the image sensor is now able to record a fainter light signal. In my case: dusk. However, it is also true now that it will record fainter noise, where noise is any signal that is not attributed to the light from your subject. The increased sensitivity allows the image sensor to record more light signal and more noise. Shooting moving objects (in less-than-sunny skies) also requires a higher ISO so that your shutter speed is faster to freeze the motion.
Hope that makes sense...
This was my best shot. Luckily he was close enough to shoot at 300mm. but the ISO was way up there at ISO 2000. I NEVER shoot that high!
There were quite a few owls out, and they favored these poles to sit on, claiming temporary territories for their dinnertime activities.
This fella was captured "barking" his claim to his territory. Barking is the term used for Short-eared Owl calls. (click on this one to see mouth open)