Thursday, January 16, 2014


Barn owl in flight
You will ask what is 642. 642 is the total number of life birds that I have seen in the wild. Wednesday, January 15, 2014 I added number 642 to my list, a Barn Owl. Now I have seen barn owls in the past but they have been captive birds and do not count on a life list. A couple of years ago, there was a barn owl reported at Sachuest National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown Rhode Island, however I was leaving on a trip and could not get down to photograph it and when I returned from my trip it was not being seen anymore. Recently, a barn owl again as been reported at Sachuest. My grandson and I went down in the afternoon and joined the large number of birders photographers and just ordinary people who would down to see not only the barn owl but the snowy owls. The parking lot at the refuge was fuller than I have ever seen it in the late afternoon on a weekday.

After we parked and set up our cameras and lenses, we joined the group and said hello to people that we knew. In front of us in the field in a tree was a snowy owl and behind us on the observation platform was another snowy owl. I obtained some pictures of the snowy owl in the tree, but I was turned around talking to someone and missed it taking off and flying to the roof of the maintenance building. I went over and took some pictures of it there. After a while and then flew down to a light post then finally down to near the reservoir. Talking with people, this seems to be a regular route that the owl takes.
Snowy owl in tree
Snowy owl on roof  of maintenance shed
Snowy owl on light post with St. George's school in the background
Snowy owl on observation platform, in a resting mode, despite the number of people that went to see it
As it was getting to later in the afternoon and darker, we needed to push our ISO up and we continue to wait for the barn owl to appear. It also follows a regular route. Finally, there it was flying in and churning over the field, hunting, resting in trees and flying off to continue to hunt. I took a large number of pictures, most of them were blurry due to the fact even with a high ISO, my shutter speed was low. But, happily I did get a couple of good photograph's.
Barn owl flying in field between two people

Barn owl in tree
Just prior to us leaving a spectacular sunset finished off a great afternoon.
Sunset at Sachuest

Sunset at Sachuest

Because of the high ISO's that I used I did all my post-processing in Lightroom and Topaz plug-ins: DeNoise, Clarity and Detail