Tuesday, January 24, 2012
After photographing a juvenile snowy owl on Plum Island under overcast conditions, I returned a few days later to try my luck at photographing the bird in the golden light of sunset. I parked my car at Beach #7 and walked down around the tip of Plum Island to Sandy Point State Reservation to try to locate the owl again. While I had a very pleasant walk in the winter air, I came up empty in terms of spotting the owl, and I started walking back towards my car as the light started getting better and better. Resigned to having a trip with nothing photographic to show for it, I ascended the wooden stairs to the observation platform that is at the end of the trail to the parking lot. At the top I decided to scan the beach one last time for anything interesting in the pretty light. As I pivoted on the platform I noticed that this gorgeous merlin was watching me from less than 10 yards away. She seemed rather nonplussed about sharing the observation platform with me, and gave me the opportunity to snap off a few shots in both the vertical and horizontal orientations before she took to the air again. Unfortunately, I had already collapsed my tripod before ascending the stairs, so I had to shoot handheld during the encounter, and 500mm on a windy day did not make for many tack-sharp frames -- but this one came out well.
View more raptors in my Birds of Prey Gallery.
Submitted to the World Bird Wednesday blog meme -- follow the link to check out this week's posts!