The Long-eared Owl (Asio otus) is a typical owl, which means it is a member of the Strigidae family. On a flying visit to RSPB Saltolme on Teesside (a dry and winter sunny trip this second trip there for us), we headed over to the known roosting sites of the birds on the reserve. The noticeboards had said they were not “showing”. However, a warden was watching a tree intently and so we followed suit, but nothing came to sight.
Heading up the path, the warden spotted one in a dense woody thicket, it was only just visible with binoculars at about 15 metres distance and certainly you couldn’t see it without optical aids. He directed our sight to it, but Mrs Sciencebase spotted a second to its right and even more fiercely obscured by branches and foliage. I got a record shot of the first zoomed to 600 mm, f/6.7, t 1/2000s, ISO 12800.
It was dusky by now and very little light in the thicket. We needed to get back on the road, so couldn’t wait the hour or two before they took flight to begin hunting and had to leave before any significant Starling murmurations, although we did see a wonderful sunset of the chemical works! More of those in the next blog post.
Photographed at RSPB Saltholme