I make it a habit of scoping conifers in my walks no matter the time of year because all sorts of birds like to hide in them and you just never know what you may see. And it's November now so northern Owls are on the move south once again.
I saw the back of this little Owl and my heart jumped with a moment of excitement. The white spots on his back just caught my eye and his tree wasn't much more than 15 ft from the path I was on.
Can you see the little Owl in this photo?
I scoped the area a little at first, seeing who was around me. If you aren't sure why I did this, perhaps you should visit some of my older blogs about some people disturbing Owls? Like Through The Eyes of a Saw-whet Owl or Stealing An Owl Ain't Cool.
And once all seemed clear, I looked to find an opening and make my way around the trees to see his front side while not be too disturbing of his day time rest nor destructive to the grounds. I had to do a bit of a walk around as there was a fairly open space on the other side before another grove of cedars. I walked as lightly as I could but even while they appear to be sleeping, they are quite aware of what is going on around them. Owls have an amazing hearing ability, I forget the scientific facts at the moment, but being able to hear field mice moving around, even under a blanket of snow is incredible hearing. So yes, while I think I am being stealth like, its never enough to sneak up on these birds. But I am a firm believer in respecting the creatures we see out there, and in many cases we will be rewarded with great views of them.
So, I found my way around the trees and got a lovely view of this little one's face. What a sweet sight watching the Owl sleep the day away!
I took about 15 photos, zooming in and out, toyed with the settings and enjoyed my less than 5 minute view of him. I quietly watched him with my own eyes, and not through the lens or binoculars, for much of that time.
It was upon my leaving that the little Saw-whet opened his eyes, of course hoping I was leaving and not coming in any closer.
Please enjoy all the wildlife out there and give them all the respect they so deserve. They are just trying to survive. And don't be afraid to speak up to someone who may not be acting as such. You don't have to be loud and mean but sometimes it is necessary and expect anything in return. I try polite and educational bits first and take it from there. If you can change one person, or educate a group, it will help.
*note* the last year I have been mostly using a Sigma 500mm lens which has great zoom capabilities. So while the creatures I display to you in these blogs seem really close, in reality they are not. Wildlife photography should be done with great zoom equipment to ensure even less disturbance and invasion of the animals' habitat. You don't need a big heavy lens these days as even the small point and shoot cameras have incredible zooms on them.