Saturday, February 5, 2011

Camera Critters: Rare Winter Wildlife Encounters

For today we feature two photographs of winter wildlife.  The first one is of the Great Horned Owl, a species that I seldom see and have not photographed successfully until now.  I was driving a backcountry road on the way to my favorite wildlife observation spot, when I noticed the owl flying from tree to tree.  When he landed in a relatively open spot I took several photographs with the Canon 7D and the 300mm F2.8. with 2x Extender.  The image is cropped severely, and would have been better had I been closer.  I would also have preferred to not have the intervening limbs in the photograph, but from one point of view they may actually add to the photograph, as it tends to illustrate how elusive the species can be and helps create a mysterious, wild atmosphere..

Great Horned Owl
I see  Eastern Wild Turkeys frequently, but seldom have a photo opportunity such as the following.

Mature Eastern Wild Turkey Gobblers
A flock of gobblers was feeding, when a young whitetail deer that is just out of the frame to the left, jumped at the turkeys and momentarily startled one, causing it to leap high into the air.  I have observed this behavior before, and in most cases it is a young deer that gets involved with the turkeys, most likely because they are more curious and playful than the adult animals.  I have even seen deer chase turkeys  around in circles.  Turkeys are not actually afraid of deer and seldom leave the area when this happens.

For more Camera Critters photographs, Click Here!


Originally posted at Pennsylvania Wildlife Photographer by Willard Hill

18 comments:

eileeninmd said...

Awesome sighting of the Owl. Great shots!

EG Wow said...

Wonderful shot of the owl! So you have a 300mm lens with a 2x extender and you still had to crop! I think the shot turned out very well.

The startled turkey is a fun photo!

Linda (PA_shutterbug) said...

I liked both pictures. I'm glad that you were in the right spot at the right time!

ladyfi said...

Brilliant shots. Love the owl.. and my, who knew turkeys could jump??

JimB said...

Awesome-just awesome!!!
Those turkeys are crisp adn clrear and teh moment you caught is precious! I love the elusive owls and have been on a trek to get all that frequent PA. The Great Horned has evaded me and your capture is great!

Jim

PaWingers said...

Excellent photo Willard! I don't think most people realize how difficult it is to get pictures of owls.

Kritter Keeper at Farm Tails said...

oh willard, how i wish my daddy were still alive as he would have loved your blog just as much as i do. what a stunning shot of that owl. i hear mine at night as this is one of their species mating period. their calls are a wonderful companion as i walk to the barn for the night feeding. and yes, you are so right about the young deer. beauty's girl chased them last year. i haven't seen my turkeys at all and last year at this time they came down to the corn yard to feed early in the mornings. there are still acorns available as i took a long walk a couple of days ago in my woods and found several...didn't see any coyote scat either and they love to 'display' it like the foxes. so who knows....

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Both images are lovely.I like the action with the turkey.

Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Great photos!

Marie said...

Such wonderful photos -- the owl one would make a great piece for framing. I think the branches add to the picture, but I love owls so I'm biased :-) The kids and I go to the Wild Bird Sanctuary several times a year just to see and learn more about the owls they work with/rescue/etc.

Visiting from Camera Critters

Marie
bonkersinbarnhart.com

chubskulit said...

Gorgeous!

Camera Critters at my page

carl in ga said...

Willard - GREAT SHOT!! I have never seen a Great Horned Owl in the wild. I'm surprised he was flying around in the daytime, or is this owl species not nocturnal?

Abraham Lincoln said...

I love that horned owl.

But the turkey doing the "Turkey Trot" is about as unique as it gets.

Both are much appreciated photos.

Feral Female said...

How awesome to see that owl! We hear them but I`ve been lucky enough to see one. Nice shot of the turkeys too!

Willard said...

Carl is right that they are mostly nocturnal, which is likely why I haven't photographed one until now. No idea why this one was out in mid-afternoon.

HANNIBAL said...

Fantastic sightings! I really liked the jumping turkey! Catching that nicely had to be a thrill!

Misty Dawn said...

These are absolutely fantastic! LOVE that owl shot!

Ritchie said...

Hi friends,

Most of horned owls eat is swallowed whole. The bones and fur are later regurgitated in a condensed pellet. The majority of a horned owl's diet consists of small mammals such as woodchucks, rabbits, rats and squirrels. Thanks for sharing it......

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