Last year I was lucky to have a group of Long-eared Owls in my back garden. Often they were hiding away deep within a tree and hard to photograph.
This year they only appeared once in a while and just like last year they were very hard to photograph. That all changed today! After months of absence there was one sitting in plain sight on the edge of the tree. I knew I had to be careful not to scare him away but after all this time I’m familiar with they’re behaviour. When they get scared they stretch themselves making it appear large and thin. Then they start turning they’re heads and they are gone.
So trying to prevent this from happening I started from a long distance and moved forward. Soon I realised that this owl didn’t bother itself at all with me walking around. When I was about 5 meters away I saw the first signs of it being unhappy. I made one step back and then it settled back to his normal behaviour.
This was still close enough to make great pictures using my 400mm lens. Finally I could make the long wished for close up pictures where the big yellow eyes of the owl would shine in. I got outside every hour to get different poses and different light positions and this gave me a very nice series of pictures that I’m really happy with. Hopefully they will be coming around more often from now on.