I finally got some shots of short eared owls that are good enough to paint from.
Over the years I have managed to get some good photographs of barn owls, tawny owls and little owls, but short eared - and long eared - owls have been missing from my portfolio.
So last week I set off to a spot just south of the Humber River where the birdwatchers on our guided walks with Michael Flowers had recently spotted 15 short eared owls. I spent two afternoons there waiting and watching.
As I watched a buzzard, a hen harrier and this marsh harrier flew by.
And then five short eared owls appeared and set upon the buzzard. They mobbed him systematically until he gave up and left their territory. Unfortunately the action was too far away to photograph.
It proved a long, cold wait but it was worth it because then the five owls began to hunt.
I had put up a branch for them while I had been waiting in the hope that one of them would perch on it and after four hours of watching this one spotted it and landed on it for a few minutes.
I snapped away as fast as I could. This will make the perfect pose for a painting.
It shook itself, and then set off again to chase away a rival.