I'm an avid birder and nature photographer wishing to share some of my sightings & images taken while out in the "wilds" of Cape Ann and surrounding New England countryside. More images can be found on my web site at New England Birds Plus Enjoy, Phil Brown

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Saturday, November 5, 2011

Screech Owl - Essex

The gray morph Screech Owl that spent the day in a box in the yard yesterday moved away from the yard today to a box on the edge of the woods behind the house. I didn't know it was there until a few White-throated Sparrows, chipping their displeasure at the owl, pointed it out around 5:30 p.m. as I closed up for the day.

A bit of video with a pair of Northern Cardinals and several White-throated Sparrows chipping their displeasure in the background.

But the real fun didn't begin until it left the box just after sunset when it perched on the branch of a Sumac Tree just under the box.  

The owl was a bit buried in the foliage so I moved my portable blind (aka a Toyota Corolla) for a better view.

The owl stayed in this location for a good 20 minutes, scanning the area and stretching before heading off for the night. All of these images were taken after dark, manually focused, utilizing mirror lock-up on the camera with an iso setting of 12,800 and a shutter speed of 0.3 seconds at 700mm. A good bit of clean up was necessary with each image before posting them here. This shot shows what happens if the owl moved. Not much of a shot with no available light.

Out of the 60 or so images I took after he left the box 8 were usable, not bad from where I'm sitting!

I hope to have this chance again this fall, photographing Screech Owls in the dark is an interesting challenge!