Short Eared Owl

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I quite like owls, and looking at this picture I think most people would agree!  Skomer is doing quite well for “shorties” this year with three pairs setting up shop and at least one nest having a handful of chicks in already.  This means there are quite a few adults flying over the emerging vegetation in search of shrews, mice and our very own Skomer vole to feed themselves and their young.  In the evenings it is quite common to sit just outside the farm buildings and have an adult fly past a few times at quite close range, focussing so hard on the hunt that they seem to ignore you sitting there quietly.

I tried pretty hard to photograph these owls last year but there were very few about and the bad weather meant their breeding efforts failed and they soon moved on.  So I’ve been making the most of this week’s fine weather and the loan of a nice lens to photograph the owls.  I especially liked this shot because it shows the bright yellow eyes really well, but even so it doesn’t match up to watching them glide past silently…  poor voles don’t stand a chance.

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