By Gavin Bickerton-Jones in General Articles, Blogging | 13th May 2021
Spent a night in Lincolnshire a couple of weeks ago photographing a Long Eared Owl family. These are one of the 5 native species of Owl in the UK, and very difficult to see as they like dense forests and hunt at night. This was are chance through Tom at Wildlife Hides, to see a completely wild Owl family, no supplementary feeding, and get some photographs using a flash which didn't upset the Owls at all. Tom had set a temporary 'Scaffold hide' up, 6metres off the ground, to catch the parents coming in to feed the 5 young, before the young leave the nest to 'branch', giving about a 2 week window for photos.
We got to the hide around 4.30, clambered up the steps to the snug 3 man hide, and carefully got in, a bit the the Apollo command module, me, Dave and Duncan shoulder to shoulder! The nest was in front of us about 15 metres away, and the 5 youngsters were awake and moving about, although the nest was very full and they always looked on the point of falling out!
We took a couple of shots and chatted for a while, ate some snacks, until at about 7.50 suddenly there was a quick movement on the nest as an adult came in and dropped a vole and went in a flash. I had set my EOS R up with a 100-400 lens and pre focussed, then put a remote trigger on it which was a good move as I got a couple of shots on instinct as I saw the wings flash in.
Over the course of the next 5 hours both adults visited the nest about 6 times, a couple of times for about 5 mins, so we all got some decent shots to take away, and felt privileged to have witnessed these beautiful birds in the wild. I changed to my 1DX body as battery life was better, but got great pictures with both.