Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Barred Owl!

Last Wednesday night, I was driving home from work and I saw an owl fly across a nearby field and land in a tree. At first I thought it was a Barn Owl. But as I got closer, it turned out to be a Barred Owl! So I rushed home to get my gear with the hope of getting at least one good shot. After all, the sun was sinking fast!

When I got to my driveway, Mike the postman was coming by. Okay, I need to be neighborly, but my attention was definitely split. Mike and I chatted about the Nor’easter and the feeling that spring is right around the corner. I like Mike. He’s a good Carrier. He takes good care of his route.

I got home, grabbed my gear and headed back, trying not to break the sound barrier. I got to the scene and there it was! I put my camera to my face, he looked up at me and my heart sank. 1/5th of a second. It might as well have been a hour exposure. I set the ISO up to 400 and got the shutter speed down to 1/20th of a second. So pardon these photos. I did what I could with the conditions I had.

My first shots when he was looking directly at me didn’t work and hit the cutting room floor.

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

So let me tell you what’s happening here. The owl is looking down. I wasn’t able to get a keeper with it looking up at me. As the time progressed, it still wouldn’t look up. But then I saw that it was moving its face in a circular motion. It’s onto something!

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

Then it pounced into the snow.

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

It spent a little time scootching around and I could see it trying to go deeper into the snow.

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

Then it seemed that it got a little excited.

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

This was the last shot that I took. Off it flew deep into the brush. I could see that it caught a mouse or a mole. It flew away with it in his talons. Good job!

©2013 Steve Borichevsky

This, by the way, is a life bird for me!

For other feather friends, visit Wild Bird Wednesday.


Carol Mattingly said...

Fantastic shot Steve. Last month I drove well over an hour to a location tat had short earned owls, sadly they had moved on after being in that local for weeks. You must be ecstatic.

Kathryn said...

Great shots, Steve. Congratulations on the Lifer! How exciting!

Karen said...

What a great opportunity to see this guy in action. Terrific shots!

mick said...

Great photos and how lucky that the owl stayed long enough for you to get back and take some photos - and get some photos of the bird in action as well.

Heather Wilde said...

I'd thrilled just to see that let alone get such good pictures of it.

Gary said...

Great sequence!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

Jenny said...

Wonderful that you got a lifer as well as some great shots Steve. I love that first one! Barred Owls are normally nocturnal arn't they? This one must've been desperate to hunt during day time. I'm glad it was successful.

HansHB said...

Great to see your nice photos!

eileeninmd said...

Steve, what a cool sighting and awesome series of photos!

Roy Norris said...

You did a great job Steve.

She Who Carries Camera said...

How lucky for you that he was still there when you got back and then to see all that action! Hi-5!

bunnits said...

Congratulations and great shots.

Stewart M said...

What a way to end the day - just goes to show what you can pull out of the bag in less than perfect light. I think I would have been tempted to push the ISO a little more!

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

Stewart M - Melbourne

~~~jennifer~~~ said...

What an awesome find! I have only caught one owl on my camera. I'd definitely like to see more.

Phyllis Oller said...

Your shots are great!
I,too,posted the barred owl this week.It is amazing how they can spin their heads entirely around!They stay here all year for me too in the woods of Pa,thanks for sharing,phyllis

Wally Jones said...

Congratulations on a wonderful life bird!
This is among my favorite birds. I love hearing them call from deep within the woods or swamp and then hearing a reply.

Nice job!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on the life bird! Wonderful shots!

Andrea said...

Not only are Barred Owls nocternal, but they prefer hunting in the deeper darker wooded areas, so you were really in luck to see this fella out of his element. They actually hunt through hearing ... triangulating on the sound of the animal even when they can't see them under the snow. He knew just where to go when he dropped down on his prey. Wonderful series and congratulations on your lifer ... it's a good one!

Andrea @ From The Sol

Steve Borichevsky said...

Thanks for all the comments!

Yes, I've lived in Barred Owl territory all my life. There have been two instances that I've seen them fly through the wooded back yard, but never could get the proper ID.

I've heard the Great Horned Owls calling in the yard three times, always about an hour before dawn. But I've never been able to find them.

Mary Howell Cromer said...

WOWOHWOW how grand an opportunity! Barred Owls are my favorite Owl here and Great Gray Owls on my wish list! You got some absolutely gems of images...very fortunate man...well done!

Judy said...

Wonderful series!! Even the pounce, so out of focus, is a great shot, because you get such a feeling of the speed involved!! Congrats on another lifer!!

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