In this era of eBird, birding listservs and forums, and the BirdsEye app, finding Short-eared Owl isn’t especially difficult. Plus, the species is widespread, it prefers grasslands and other open areas, and it often hunts by day — all qualities that make a search easier than a quest for, say, nocturnal owls that reside in remote forests.
Robert Thomas took this image in early January and posted it to the BirdWatching Flickr group. The bird was at Brunswick Point, in southwestern British Columbia, a popular birding spot south of Vancouver and a reliable site for the species in winter. (It’s not far from two of our Hotspots Near You — Boundary Bay Dykes and the Reifel Migratory Bird Sanctuary.
Thomas, of Port Alberni, on Vancouver Island, British Columbia, is a forest technician. A nature photographer for more than 25 years, he took his first photos of birds in 2010, after a friend started photographing birds.
Thomas stood among tall marsh grasses and fired away when the Short-eared Owl swooped within close range. And we’re glad he did. We can’t take our eyes off the bird’s tawny and brown hues, its wide wingspan, and its intense glare.
He used the following equipment and settings:
Camera: Nikon D7200
Lens: Nikkor 200-500mm AF-S f/5.6E ED VR
Tripod: Manfrotto with ball head
Settings: f/8, 1/2500 sec, ISO 800, manual mode, continuous focus
Format: JPG fine + RAW NEF
A version of this article appeared in the April 2016 issue of BirdWatching magazine.
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