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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Bird Talk 
Thread started 27 Jan 2014 (Monday) 04:41
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How would you stalk something like this?

 
Evan
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Jan 30, 2014 17:58 |  #16

Nice shots.

Snowies seem to have random feeding behavior, but if you spend enough time watching an individual you learn to pick up its patterns. That being said, those observations can easily be ruined when the owl is disturbed, they will completely change their behavior when disturbed by people.

I'm sure we have just as much beach and dunes for them to hunt on as the east coast.

Starting in November I go to the beach to look for owls. Once a bird has arrived, I do not immediately go and photograph it. I observe the bird from over half a mile away for several days picking up its flight patterns and favorite perches. This time also allows it to hunt without being disturbed by people. This can be quite boring, but I enjoy learning about bird behavior.

Snowies will always have several favorite perches that they shift every couple of hours. And typically they are most active in the mornings. Once birders, photographers, or curious people start to push the owls around, they tend to move their hunting into the late evening around dusk.

I always draw a perch map of the surrounding perches and tally every time an owl lands on one. The perch that has the most tallies, and the best photographically, is chosen as my blind perch. The third or fourth day I will go in at midnight and dig a pit blind, I'll sleep in my car and walk in an hour before sunrise. It works :)


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Duane ­ N
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Jan 31, 2014 04:42 as a reply to  @ Evan's post |  #17

I wish I could approach photographing them your way Evan. I feel I do much better when I'm one on one with whatever I'm photographing and I'm not worried about others around me. I struggle with sharing sightings with others because I don't want to come across as being selfish but then I look back at some of my better encounters and it was just me and an Owl on a beach with no one else around for miles. Maybe I just need to stop worrying about pleasing everyone around me and just focus on why I do wildlife photography. ;)


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dfbovey
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Jan 31, 2014 06:50 |  #18

Difficult to stalk any thing at the NWR because you aren't allowed to go out there anyway. If a ranger had seen you on the ice they probably wouldn't have been happy about that.


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Duane ­ N
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Jan 31, 2014 15:24 |  #19

dfbovey wrote in post #16652206 (external link)
Difficult to stalk any thing at the NWR because you aren't allowed to go out there anyway. If a ranger had seen you on the ice they probably wouldn't have been happy about that.

The ice/pond is within the limits of where people/trucks are allowed to go. It's actually rainwater that had frozen over not one of the large ponds the Snow Geese hang out in. The only time this section of the beach is closed to the public is when birds are nesting on the beach which is in the spring/summer. ;)


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dfbovey
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Feb 01, 2014 00:10 |  #20

Ah, got it. Thought this was the pond on the wildlife loop. Rangers definitely want people to stay on the paths in that area. I know what area you mean though, have seen people wading and fishing there.


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Photo123abc
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Feb 20, 2014 03:40 as a reply to  @ dfbovey's post |  #21

I personaly use a very simple, but effective technique.

First of all, put your camera away. Just leave it home and go there. Sit on the ice and make yourself visible, dont try to hide. Dont talk and make as little noise as possible. But let the owl know youre there.

When aproaching the owl, dont look directly at him and dont walk directly towards him. Always move slowly and avoid any sudden movements. Walk near by slowly but show no intrest for the owl.

Dont look him, look away to the ground or horizon in the opposite direction. If the owl flies away or constantly looks towards the escape route youre too close so go back a bit until he feels comfortable. Dont push too hard, let him have his space.
Some owls just dont let you anywhere near you in any case.

If you get close enough for photography without the camera, take your camera and repeat. Sit down somewhere near where the owl still feels comfortable. Key part is that your body language tells him that youre not here to eat him.

This requires alot of time, usualy weeks, but it has brought me great photos. For example: very shy Great Grey Owl, I photographed him around 5 meters away. Also a Northern Hawk-Owl, wich I photographed 2 meters away. Both of them accepted me and the Great Grey even fell a sleep. :)

Other thing you could try is to get into a hide. Place around 5 meters tall branch on the shore and put sawdust and seeds on the base of it. This will attract any near by mice wich the owl will try to hunt.

If you have a remote controller, that rock in your photos could be his landing place. Put your camera near it and wait for the owl to come near by.

Hopefully this helps! :)

-Ville Miettinen


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How would you stalk something like this?
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