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The Boys are Back in Town!

short eared owl hunting at sunset
Short-eared Owl

I paid a visit to the lovely Forest of Dean today where I was looking for Crossbill and Hawfinch. It was very quiet indeed, the closest I came to seeing either of my hoped for species was a distant calling Crossbill which I could not locate near the church at Parkend.

On the way home I called into Gloucestershire’s worst kept secret birding location to look for Short Eared Owls. I normally go to this location two or three times during the winter and have been blessed on occasion with some fantastic views of these stunning owls.

This was my first visit this winter and it was great to see that at least three owls have returned. They came out just as the sun was setting, rather too late for any quality photography on this occasion so I spent most of the time just enjoying watching them. I found it almost mesmerising watching the interaction, calling and hunting of the owls in the last embers of the day.

It’s a testament to the ability of modern cameras that it is possible to get some sort of image in such poor light. The photos attached were taken fifteen minutes of so after sunset in deep twilight. The above picture was  taken at ISO 8,000 and that below at an incredible ISO 16,000! In between I took a picture of the sunset to give a measure of how poor the light really was.

short eared owl at sunset
Short-eared Owl


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