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Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Bright-eyed and long-legged

Last March I wrote about "the watchful burrower" and showed a few pictures from the dunes.  They weren't great pictures, but the best I had at the time.  Here are a few better (much better!) images from the grassland.

And since a few of you have asked about photographic equipment and techniques, I have a confession to make.  I don't have the most powerful equipment, but the wonders of digital photography make it possible to zoom in after the fact.

Here's the original picture I took.  I like it because it shows the owl in the landscape, and you can tell that Burrowing Owls are small (only 19-25 cm, or 7.5-10 inches long).

Later, on the computer, I zoomed in to look at where the owl was standing — on bare, rocky soil, probably the remnants of badger digging.  And now you can see the owl's very long legs.  (See the cropped photo below.)

And then I zoomed in even more to get a good close look at the owl's features.  It's fun to spend time doing this, and I've discovered a lot in the process.  I still prefer making observations in the field whenever possible, but it's been interesting to learn more about a species by exploring different parts of a digital image.

Now you can really appreciate the owl's bright yellow eyes, its cream-colored eyebrows and throat, and the mottled white spots and speckles.

Although they're rare winter residents on the coast, watch for Burrowing Owls in open grasslands with sparse vegetation.  They're often associated with mammal burrows.

To learn more about this charismatic species, review the post from 19 March 2012.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those legs are marvelous!