There has been a few Short Eared Owls just west of Kempsey a village some miles south of Worcester so yesterday morning armed with info where to find them from my good friend Pete Walkden I set off at 8.45 AM to try my luck at getting some shots.
Despite using the M5 to get there which is such bad shape it looks as though it has been strafed by RAF fighters on an exercise that has gone wrong I parked up by the church in Kempsey just after 9.30 AM.I then walked the few hundred metres to join up with the photographers already in place.
So how did I do with the Owls then ? Well not too well really despite a stay of over 3 hours.There were 4 about but the trouble was that they were very elusive and distant and they insisted on landing in the middle of fields and staying there out of site for ages.Also it was cold ( very cold later when the wind got up) and very muddy (this not surprising as only a few days ago the nearby river had flooded the area) and there were loads of dog walkers about.
A disastrous trip then ? No not at all. It was sunny and area was very nice with great views of the countryside There were several friends there and it's always great to catch up and it's also nice to chat to the other photographers of which there were quite a few.I did notice however that all the other photographers had bigger lenses than me and this took me back to my younger days and embarrassing times in the showers.
Also there were other birds about to point the camera at including loads of singing Skylarks.
We were also entertained by a pair of Stonechats that were flying around nearby as we waited patiently for the Owls to show.Couldn't get the male to come into range though.
Did manage my first shot for ages of a Kestrel that was hanging round the pumping station.
Right back to the Short Eared Owls.I did manage a few shots that weren't too bad but no keepers though.I didn't help myself at all because twice with my good friend Vince Garvey we decided to move to a better spot and both times an Owl flew over where we had been standing and when we finally decided to stay in one spot we never saw one.Then when they did show I managed to have the settings on the camera wrong which you can see from the shots below the exposure compensation was not set right.
I gave up just before 1.00 PM mainly because standing up for so long was making my back ache.What a wimp ! ! On the muddy walk back to the car park the 3 dogs with a couple of dog walkers decided to "play" with me jumping up me with muddy paws.The comment "They are only being friendly" didn't go down well with me.I cannot print what my comments were.
My troubles were not over because my wellies were so muddied up by the time I got to the car I had big trouble getting them off.Only some very heavy duty swearing and metal fence post saved the day.