Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Owlettes and Glass Envy

Getting a long Monday afternoon always helps to make up for the extra-early start I get to each week at work. Yesterday I used my extra hours to make my first visit to Saint Vrain State Park, just outside Longmont, Colorado. It was a good visit, and I will have at least one other post from the trip, but the highlight had to be the three Great Horned Owl nestlings I had the chance to observe.
A great thing about cool sights like this in birding is the fact that they always seem to bring birders together. I had met Mike and Susan earlier on the trail, as they let me know that they were looking for a reported owl nest in the area. Later I found them with another birder, Pat, as the three were getting great shots of the nest.
As a sign to the unaquainted, of the character of people who choose to go birdwatching; Pat, who had never met any of us before, allowed Mike and myself chances to attach our Canon bodies to his 500mm f4.0 lens. I know, three different Canon rigs shooting wildlife at the same place and time, wierd huh? Talk about me drooling though!
Here is a shot with his lens:

Here is the roughly the same shot with my 100-400mm fully zoomed f4.5-5.6, (actually this is the only shot in this post through my lens - why not share the good ones, right?):

Now, blog visitors don't go expecting me to have shots like that regularly. Unless, a Gates or Buffett decide to send me a gift lens in the pursuit of better blogging picture quality here at DaveABirding, the only quality improvements are going to come from my practice and gradual improvement as a photographer. It sure was fun to shoot through though, Thanks Pat!
This was my first opportunity to observe young owls up close, a real treat.

Unfortunately, the time of day left them a bit back lit. I am hoping to get back up one day before work, but it is a bit of a drive, so the verdict is still out on that plan.

A real topper to a good afternoon. Not only getting to watch cool birds and shoot through an upgraded lens, but meeting nice folks along the way - there really is nothing but upside to birding...except for the glass envy!


  1. Those owlets are just so cute and you got good shots with both lenses. I sometimes long for a long lens too, but it'll never happen. Probably couldn't carry it anyway.

  2. What funny-looking babies, and wonderful shots - with & w/o the superhero lens.

  3. Oh my..these are soooo adorable!