Barn Owls in Winter

Barn Owl flying over a snow covered mudflatBarn Owl flying over a snow covered mudflat – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

For the first time in a couple of years I saw two Barn Owls yesterday morning flying along the causeway to Antelope Island State Park.  The first Barn Owl was on the north side of the causeway flying east towards the park entrance over the snow covered mudflat.

Flying Barn Owl on a February morningFlying Barn Owl on a February morning – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

These large, nocturnal owls do fly during daylight hours in winter when the weather is very cold and there is snow on the ground. They will also fly later in the morning and earlier in the evening when they are raising a brood of chicks.

The light was beautiful yesterday morning and because the owl was heading east I was able to get a catch light in in its dark, deep set eyes.

Snow covered mudflats and a Barn Owl in flightSnow covered mudflats and a Barn Owl in flight – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1000, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The Barn Owl appeared to be hunting the vegetation that grows along the sides of the causeway. When I view this image in its full resolution I can see blood on the owl’s feet so it must have had a successful hunt not too long before this photo was taken.

A Barn Owl flying east along the causewayA Barn Owl flying east along the causeway – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1250, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

The Barn Owl in these last two frames was flying along the south side of the causeway further west than the first owl and it was also heading east. The background in the image above is a section of the mudflats of the Great Salt Lake where there wasn’t a layer of snow or ice on it.

A Barn Owl flying with snow on the groundA Barn Owl flying with snow on the ground – Nikon D810, f6.3, 1/1280, ISO 500, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

And in this frame there was a layer of snow lit up by the sun at the bottom of the frame and a thin layer ice on the mudflats behind that. It almost looks like the owl is flying above some fluffy clouds but that isn’t the case at all.

I am always grateful to see Barn Owls in winter and to be able to photograph them in sweet light is a delight.

Life is good.

Mia

12 Comments

  1. Mia McPherson February 10, 2016 at 5:34 am

    Thank you all for your kind comments, they are much appreciated!

  2. Lois Bryan February 9, 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Sooo beautiful!!!!!

  3. Larry Muench February 9, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Beautiful shots Mia!

  4. Elephant's Child February 9, 2016 at 11:55 am

    Glorious.

  5. Nancy Collins February 9, 2016 at 11:08 am

    Flying treasures Mia! Beautiful!

  6. Chris Rohrer February 9, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Gorgeous!!! In flight or sitting perched….always a beautiful bird!

  7. Sarah Mayhew February 9, 2016 at 9:41 am

    Beautiful! Lucky you to photograph an owl in nice light! 🙂

  8. Patty Chadwick February 9, 2016 at 9:24 am

    What a wonderful series…each frame could stand alone as a great capture! I find the compactness and colors of Barn Owls some very beautiful…love these pictures! You were so lucky to get them and I’m so lucky to see them….

  9. Randal Sokolik February 9, 2016 at 8:38 am

    beautiful shots and captures! Thank you!

  10. Molly February 9, 2016 at 7:56 am

    these are fantastic. fantastically beautiful 🙂 owls are so amazing.

  11. Roger Burnard February 9, 2016 at 7:27 am

    Nicely done Mia, yes, nicely done… ;-)))

  12. Bob McPherson February 9, 2016 at 6:26 am

    Beautiful images Mia. Your Barn Owls are a favorite.

Comments are closed.