Tony McLean's East Yorkshire Wildlife Diary

Wildlife photography in East Yorkshire

Ghost Owls hunting…

Barn Owl at dusk

Since returning from Hungary a few weeks ago, my interest has been photographing the local Barn Owl population at Tophill Low. This is one of my favourite times of year (despite my hay-fever) and early mornings and late evenings are the best time to capture these magnificent birds. Of course, I always limit my visits and keep any disturbance to an absolute minimum. You cannot hide from an Owl. One press of the camera’s shutter and the Owl’s fantastic hearing will pin-point your position. Remember: Barn Owls are covered by Schedule 1 of both the Wildlife and Countryside Act, 1981 and The Wildlife (Northern Ireland) Order, 1985; therefore the birds, their nests, eggs and young are fully protected at all times throughout the UK. Penalties, involving a fine of up to £5,000 and/or a custodial sentence.

Photographing these Owls against the setting sun present its own challenges. Their white plumage and back-lit exposure will test any camaera’s metering system. Im situations like these, I usually switch to manual metering using my D3’s spot metering function. By taking a reading from the highlights (usually the sky) and adjusting the ISO so that it meters + 2 stops will usually put you in the right area. Here’s a few examples from the past week. Happy hunting!

Barn Owl with Prey_4

Barn Owl success

Barn Owl with vole

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One thought on “Ghost Owls hunting…

  1. Mandy Sears on said:

    Lovely pictures Tony. I saw a fox carrying a very large rabbit in its mouth at North Marsh last night. Sadly, my camera didn’t do the moment justice – you should have been there!

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