Short eared owl. (Asseus flammeus)
Short eared owls in the Uk are a mobile species. They tend to breed in the ummer in the north , especially the islands off western Scotland then sometimes move south in winter to avoid the harsher weather in the north. In some years there can be an influx of larger numbers of this wonderful bird, usually coinciding with hard winters in northern europe and good vole populations in England and wales. Finding the locations of these overwintering populations is not always easy and the locations can vary year on year. The winter of 2011 / 2012 saw large numbers of Short eared owls overwinter in the Uk. I was lucky enough to find a quiet spot in Oxfordshire where the Owls spent the winter feeding on voles . The winter of 2012 / 2013 was very different. The previous years feeding grounds flooded however with a bit of luck I stumbled across a new spot on higher ground to photograph these charismatic birds.
In the winter of 2014 / 2015 and in subsequent years up to 2019 the birds again seem to be favouring higher ground but having found another location in Gloucestershire I have been able to get some different images. More recently (2023) I visited the Uists in the Outer Hebrides and had several fantastic close encounters with these special birds!
Two short eared owls argue over a vole
Close fly by
Flying close on a clear sky day!
A big crop to emphasise the fantastic stare!
Full frame close encounter with the bird with the amazing eyes!
Short eared owl Flying right towards us,
Fly by in fabulous golden light
Keeping one open, an over the wing look !
Perched up on a stone wall! Focus!
So close !