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Posts Tagged ‘birds of prey’

Red-winged Blackbird (Agelaius phoeniceus)

Male Red-winged Blackbird

Spring has arrived in my neck of the woods. There is nothing more wonderful than waking to the song of the male Red-winged Blackbirds upon their return. They always seem to arrive overnight. One day all is quiet and then the next morning the songs of Red-winged Blackbirds fill the air. The above bird was photographed yesterday in Ontario’s Cootes Paradise as it sang from a perch at the edge of a wetland. Earlier in the day an Eastern Screech Owl was discovered basking at the entrance of a tree cavity that was facing the rising sun.

Each of today’s photographs are straight out of the camera, with very little post processing applied – my preferred way to go when photographing wildlife!

Eastern Screech Owl (Megascops asio)

Eastern Screech Owl – Gray Phase

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Snowy Owl_6905

Snowy Owl in Flight (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

Over the last couple of days we have received several inches of heavy, wet snow around my home, which has coated the trees and turned the area into a lovely, winter wonderland. I was excited to get out and explore the surrounding farmland near my home for scenics as well as snowy owls. Every year several snowy owls over-winter on the farmland around my home. They gather to feast on mice and meadow voles that are scavenging the soy beans and corn that is spilled during harvest. Pictured above is the only image I have been able to create of a snowy owl so far this year. I do like the over-the-shoulder stare that the owl is giving me as it flies out over one of the fields.

Pictured below are a few of the scenic images that were created during my search for the snowy owls.  My choice of lenses for these images was the Nikon 200-500mm lens or the Nikon 28-300mm lens on either my Nikon D500 or Nikon D800 body.

Winter Tree_6947

Winter Tree in Snow Storm (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Winter Farm Scenic (Nikon D800 & Nikon 28-300mm Lens)

 

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Winter Tree (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

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Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

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Winter Trees (Nikon D500 & Nikon 200-500mm Lens)

 

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Saw Whet Owl_5477

Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

Late on the morning of November 12th I finally located my first Northern Saw Whet Owl. I have tried several times over the years to locate and photograph this tiny species of owl, often coming close but never succeeding. After scouring a small cedar grove for about an hour I paused to rethink where I should look next when I noticed two bright yellow eye staring back at me, not more than 3 feet from where I stood. Alas, I had found a Northern Saw Whet Owl. As the owl was roosting within the thick boughs of the cedar trees it was tricky to get a clear photograph so I decided to frame the owl in such a way that also tells a story about its habitat.

My go-to lenses for these images were the Nikon 200-500mm Lens and the Nikon 28-300mm Lens. The Nikon 200-500mm lens was deployed to capture tight portraits of the owl hidden within the branches of the cedar trees. The Nikon 28-300mm lens was the main lens used as I was able to easily capture full body images with minimal foreground clutter. The minimum one foot focusing distance of the Nikon 28-300mm lens makes it a very versatile and functional lens. Often the Nikon 28-300mm lens is trashed by the “so-called” internet experts, but this lens in the right hands, with the right vision, and proper photographic technique yields quality imagery everytime!

Below are a few additional images of the Northern Saw Whet Owl I photographed yesterday.

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Northern Saw Whet Owl, Ontario

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Here’s a recently published image that is being featured as the “Hot Shot” photograph in the Summer 2010 issue of Outdoor Photography Canada. This is a captive bird, photographed during a controlled birds of prey in flight workshop with Raymond Barlow . The falconer was flying the bird from one perch to another. I decided to position myself where the hawk was going to land and tracked it as it approached. Once the wings were opened for landing I fired a sequence of images. I was pleased to see this image on my LCD screen later in the day.

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