Friday, February 18, 2011

A New Lifer, Sort of.

Last Saturday I decided to head up to Crex Meadows to check out their camera club. The shy was pretty cloudy so I figured that it would not be a very good day to take pictures. When I got back home around 2:00pm I checked my e-mail and found that a birder in Bloomington had posted that he had a saw-whet owl in his backyard. Unfortunately by that time the owl was no longer around so I decided to take a nap. I did not get much sleep though because I got called into work to handle an emergency. When I got home from work I had another e-mail stating that the owl had returned but alas it was already too dark to try and get a photo.
The next morning I was up early and was checking my e-mail frequently as I worked on my computer. Around 8:00am I noticed an e-mail that the owl had been spotted by the home owner again that morning so I printed out the directions and headed over. When I arrived at the house in Bloomington the owner was not home but another birder was already there and had located the owl perched in an apple tree in the backyard. From the side of the house we had a pretty good view of the bird except there was one branch that was obstructing the view, see the photo above. Even though the picture was not perfect I was still pretty excited because this was the first saw-whet that I had the chance to photograph in the wild, all the others were photographed while they were being banded up at Hawk Ridge.
Shortly after I arrived and got a few shots from the side of the house the owner returned. The other two birders who were there, another arrived as we were photographing from the side of the house, decided to leave so since it was just myself I asked the owner if I could go into the yard to try and get an unobstructed shot. He was very kind and let me go though his house and out the back door. I was able to find a good angle on the bird, with no branches, but unfortunately the bird was not facing the camera, see the shot above.
After taking a couple of shots I figured that I had probably bothered the owl and the home owner enough so I decided to leave. While I was leaving the home owner told me that the owl had perched in a more open spot on Saturday. So I decided to give the owl some time and I headed over to a park that was not far away. A couple of hours later I returned and this time there were many people there to see the owl. The owl had moved to a slightly different location in the same tree and was now surrounded by large camera lenses and gawking birders.
I hung around for a while taking pictures. There was always at least 5 people with big glass in the yard during the time that I was there. Most of the time the owl had its eyes closed but on a couple of occasions when the chickadees began to mob it the owl did open one of its eyes. Then someone decided that he had to get his 500mm camera right on top of the owl. I wanted to say something but was afraid that the ensuing argument would stress the owl even more. So a few minutes later I left. I never saw any more posts about the owl after that day so either the owl moved on or the home owner decided it was better not to invite people over because unfortunately there are people who care more about getting a pic then they do the owl that they are photographing.


Anonymous said...

You did get some nice photos of this owl. I wish they would stop off here now and then. I hear the hoot owl hooting once in a while but it is usually dark outside.

eileeninmd said...

Great shots of the beautiful owl.

Roxxy said...

oh such a lovely capture, and a gorgeous critter as well! =)

my entry here

Frostbite and Sunburn said...

Great shots - and you have such patience anyway - well worth it.

Kay L. Davies said...

I love the shots you did get, though. I've never seen a sleeping owl, and the one of him with one eye open is too cute for anything. "Oh, are you people still here? I thought if I ignored you, you'd go away."
-- K

Kay, Alberta, Canada
An Unfittie's Guide to Adventurous Travel

Anonymous said...

Those last two captures are adorable!

GW Bill Miller said...

Saw-whet paparazzi. You got some nice shots anyway.

Jidhu Jose said...

nice shots

Crafty Gardener said...

I'm so glad you finally got the opportunity to photograph the owl. Great shots.

nonizamboni said...

Well worth the efforts you made! And isn't that just so human to go to excess in bothering the owl.
Nicely done.

guild-rez said...

I love your pictures!!
A lifer - it is a wonderful occasion if I see a bird the first time in our garden or park.
Last week I nocticed an unusal woodpecker on our suet feeder - a red bellied Woodpecker. A lifer for me!!
Greetings from Ontario, Canada.

Marie said...

What wonderful photos, owls are one of my favorite birds but I've never seen one in the wild. Just the ones at the Wild Bird Sanctuary -- which are gorgeous birds also. He looks very bored with all the attention -- probably wondering all the fuss is about :-)

David said...

What a beautiful owl! Great shots--like so many of your photographs, but this little guy looks so adorable, I had to comment.

I'd love to attract some to our property.