Snowy Fields

Mild relief from the frigid, overcast winter weather arrived this morning in the form of sun and a clear sky. I decided to search for a Snowy Owl by scanning open, agricultural areas at high elevations. Snow depth is well below normal and the fields not completely covered – ideal conditions for finding a large white raptor. Unfortunately, the temperature was also below normal and I was forced to use my heated truck as a blind (hide).  I cheated: functioning in a wind-chilled environment of minus 20 degrees F (-29 C) is a major complication and I wasn’t up to the challenge.

Initially, I found nothing, and grew weary of scanning. After a while, every snow-covered mound of dirt and clump of vegetation in every field can look like a Snowy Owl!

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Just as I was about to abandon the search, an owl appeared, and he was hunting the corn stubble!

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A small rodent, probably a Meadow Vole, was captured in a weedy patch at the edge of the corn field, near an access gate; distance and obstructions prevented a photograph.

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Photos by NB Hunter. © All Rights Reserved.

 

 

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11 thoughts on “Snowy Fields

  1. Wow! Love the shot of the snowy landing on the snow. So envious of the opportunity to take photos of these beautiful birds. Glad I can experience it vicariously through your blog Nick. Stay warm, keep shooting. 🙂

    • And….I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to share – that is the real purpose behind the madness! Remember too, this vicarious thing is a two-way street.
      Thanks 🙂

  2. I had to laugh. I too look at every snowy lump when driving around with my camera. We have the owls here too, and I now am starting to look at the beaches rather than in the fields. They have a taste for duck. I love that you got the owl in flight. Beautiful photos. When with bird watchers, they stay so far back that my camera can’t reach the birds. Plus the owls don’t take off when we are far away from them. Late in the day is the best time to catch them flying for prey. I need to go without the bird watchers I think.

    • Good luck. You’re a good wing shot and will get what you want sooner or later. I think the beach habitat would be a lot of fun…I recently saw a beautiful image with an owl in the foreground and a dune – beach grass backdrop. I have several self-imposed rules that sometimes help, sometimes hinder: find a bird, visit often and get to know it, blend in and avoid altering its behavior, be patient, travel alone, and keep my mouth shut. I’ve passed on dozens of in-flight opportunities because a perched owl didn’t fly – and I wouldn’t force it to do so.

  3. How brave of you to head out into the cold, but your successes are apparently enough to keep you going. Luckily we get to see them. I love the way the light shines through the wing in that third shot.

    • Thanks Gunta. Interesting – that’s my favorite shot too. There’s always a lesson in a shoot, and in this instance it was about “bad” light. The flight caught me off-guard and my only option was to shoot in the direction of a bright sun. I fired away but expected absolutely nothing. The low flight pattern, below the glare of the sun, saved the day!

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