In my arrival to Shawangunk I really lucked out. One SEOW gave myself and a few other some amazing and long views of it at fairly close range. It chose its perches, one progressively closer than the other. Which means I ended up with 600+ photos of one bird, in more of less the same pose. With each photo I'll share some random factoids about SEOW's and the grassland habitats they thrive in.
|I arrived and was headed for the trail when another birder pointed and said "it's right there!"|
It was not there 5 seconds ago!
A short-eared owl popped out onto a pole, directly in front of the parking area, a relatively short distance away.
|The bird sat for a good while and then flew, to an even closer perch, still within range of the parking area. All observers remained in the parking area and gave the bird space.|
|Grasslands are an important habitat and one that is harder and harder to find. The short-eared owls are considered endangered in New York State and grasslands like these provide crucial winter habitat for these birds.|
|Short-eared owls, living in grasslands, even nest on the ground. Even here in the grasslands, with no snow on the ground, many of them remain hidden in the grasses by day and begin flight at dusk.|
|The more open, the better. These owls are sensitive to changes in habitat and like other grassland birds, the less trees and shrubs the even better the habitat is!|
|As the sun gets low in the sky other animals take to the fields, like these white-tailed deer.|
|We had some good light as the sun began to fade, so sorry, not sorry for this opportunity to take as many photos as possible...|
|I can't put on makeup to save my life, but these owls have the most perfect smokey eyes...|
|There are many subspecies of short-eared owl as they are found nearly world-wide. They even reside on islands like Hawaii and the Galapagos.|
|While these birds winter here and in places south into Mexico, they breed North into Canada and Alaska. They range far and wide!|
|It seemed to gather itself, shake out its feathers and then took off on those long, beautiful wings. At least two other owls joined this bird, at one point even clashing in their air and calling loudly.|