Monday, 15 December 2014

Merlin, Snowy Owl, Juvenile Goshawk (20141214) A terrific behavioural encounter with a couple of Raptors

After a pretty dismal Saturday weatherwise Jamie and I decded to take a leisurely cruise up by the Short-eared owl we found a couple of weeks ago. We had a pretty slow morning, with our first Snowy spotted on a fenceline, we didn't get any images of it. A few miles up the road we came around a corner and this great little Merlin with his lunch allowed me to grab a couple of shots.
A little while later we found Snowy three. It was a long way off, but it again shows how thes birdshave adapted to all the perches that man has placed on the landscape.
Now I have to tell you that Jamie get the "spot of the year" award for our next subject. We are driving, for a second time, in the area where we found the Short-eared and says, "what is that flying toard us?"
Our first Snowy with a good sized bird that was destined to be its lunch, end it was flying right towards us. Jamie was able to get the truck stopped and i shot out through the passenger window as it approached closer.  I never noticed i took this shot until I was reviewing the images, it seems to be looking behind for some reason.
It was nice to get a nice clear view of this situation and we were pretty excited to see what we were going to view.
We watched as it come into land, it was still quite a distance out, we were hoping that it would get much closer, c'est la vie.
As I watched through the viewfinder I was totally surprised by seeing a second raptor enter the frame. This is what the Snowy was watching out for behind.
It took a couple of minutes for me to identify this second hunter as a juvenile Northern Goshawk. What a great opportunity.
The Goshawk settled in on snow for a bit, then moved a little. Finally it decided to head over to a fenceline and watch to see what the owl's next move was.
We seemed to be at a bit of a stalemate. And as we are always interested to see to see what our first batch of image look like, I got out of the truck and Jamie and I were reviewing. The next thing I know Jamie says "the Goshawk is on the move coming down the fence line!". So we train our cameras and try to capture it in flight. As it gets to the end of its flight I say "there's a second owl!!!".
As it turns out our initial owl had somehow slipped passed us. Shame on us, however the game was still on. What was going to happen now?
As it turns out they were now much further away, but now at least we had the sun on our back instead of shooting almost directly into it. The Goshawk left a couple of minutes later and we got to watch the owl eat its prey.
The owl would eat a little and then move further out into the field, further from us, until it disappeared over a small knoll.
That concluded our terrific encounter with this owl and its two other bird company, one as lunch the other as a protagonist. I don't usually dedicate this many images to a single encounter, but in this case I think it was worth it. There is a lot more to come on this day so stay tuned! Oh, and yeah, put a little wild in your life soon.

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