Burrowing Owl Near Its Burrow Plus A Bonus Common Raven In Flight

/, Birds, Burrowing Owls, Common Ravens, Davis County, Utah/Burrowing Owl Near Its Burrow Plus A Bonus Common Raven In Flight

Squatting Burrowing Owl adultSquatting Burrowing Owl adult – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1250, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

There was a bit of light yesterday after a cloudy start to the morning and that meant a quick trip out to Antelope Island just to shake off the cabin fever. The light was a bit iffy at first and when I found and heard my first of the year Long-billed Curlew I didn’t get any great images of it because of the low light, but I was excited to welcome the curlews back. I have missed them.

The best bird photography opportunity of the day happened when I spotted a Burrowing Owl near its burrow and I took advantage of the nice light to take quite a few images of the owl framed by grasses and blooming Red-stem Filaree.

Burrowing Owl looking over its backBurrowing Owl looking over its back – Nikon D500, f9, 1/800, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Even though we have some Burrowing Owls who overwinter here in northern Utah most of them are migratory and have begun to return to the island to pair up, mate and raise their young. At many of the burrows that I am aware of now I can usually see two owls near the entrance to the burrows. I did not see a mate for the owl I photographed though, it may not have found a mate yet or the mate may have been inside the burrow.

I like it when they turn their heads so far they can see over their backs. Imagine if we could do that.

Burrowing Owl standing tallBurrowing Owl standing tall – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

This owl looked around often and seemed to be paying attention to something on the hillside beyond where I sat in a vehicle photographing it from the road. I couldn’t see what the owl was looking at because I had only had eyes for this owl.

Burrowing Owl on alert near its burrowBurrowing Owl on alert near its burrow – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

When the owl stood straighter and taller I knew that it was on alert from something it could see that I couldn’t.

Adult Burrowing Owl on alert and standing tallAdult Burrowing Owl on alert and standing tall – Nikon D500, f8, 1/1000, ISO 250, -0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Not long after I took the photo above the Burrowing Owl took flight and landed in an area where it was difficult to get photos of because of tall grasses and dried mullein stalks that prevented me from having a clear view. I was thrilled to get decent images of this Burrowing Owl because the only other ones I have taken so far this year of these small desert owls have been when they were too far away to get high quality photos.

Common Raven flying over the shoreline of the Great Salt LakeCommon Raven flying over the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/1000, ISO 250, +0.3 EV, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

On the way home I was also excited to photograph this Common Raven from the causeway after it took flight and flew along the shoreline of the Great Salt Lake. It felt like an extra bonus after photographing the Burrowing Owl.

Life is good.

Mia

7 Comments

  1. Utahbooklover March 24, 2017 at 10:35 am

    Loved this series. Amazing range on the over the back twist.
    And thanks for the great image of the raven too.

  2. Elephant's Child March 23, 2017 at 3:08 pm

    A HUGELY successful cabin-fever break.

  3. Pepe Forte March 23, 2017 at 12:33 pm

    Great shots Mia! I know I’m being redundant, but the way you capture your subjects eyes [especially with birds of prey] always fascinates me and these images of the burrowing owl are truly exquisite. Thanks.

  4. Patty Chadwick March 23, 2017 at 8:27 am

    Burrowing owls are always good for at least a smile, most often, laughter! I think they are funnier than any comedian I can think of. What a great way to start a day! Love the raven, too….black birds, black cats, black. horses, black dogs are all special favorites….

  5. Bobby mcpherson March 23, 2017 at 8:00 am

    Beautiful images Mia.

  6. John Gerlach March 23, 2017 at 7:22 am

    Hi Mia,

    Loved the burrowing owls and all that you are doing on Antelope Island! I will try to get there this spring with my new hobie kayak that can be peddled forward and backward, keeping my hands available for the tripod and big lens.

    I noticed you have photographed at Red Rocks Lake NWR which isn’t that far away from where I live on the northwest side of Henry’s Lake in Island Park. If you get up in this part of Idaho, let me know as I photograph a lot of birds. I especially like birds around water and owls, but enjoy everything else too.

    Keep photographing those fabulous birds and writing stories about them!

  7. Kim March 23, 2017 at 6:25 am

    Great images!

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