Winter wouldn't be winter if I didn't find some short-eared owls to photograph, and after several trips to Northamptonshire, Gloucestershire and Leicestershire, I have finally found somewhere closer to home in Worcestershire that is starting to yield results.
Initial visits were hampered by the weather and restricted access due to floods, but braving the wind and rain I soon established where the owls were roosting and choosing to hunt.
With less rain falling, the floods receeded and I was able to access more of the area, and this meant opportunities to monitor where the owls were roosting. They tended to perch in or alongside a hedge (as the ones did in Northants years ago) but any images of them when they were sat on posts here were messy with grass in front and twigs and sadly litter behind. By biding my time though, I did start to get brief chances at shots of them as they headed off to hunt.
Having seen the fog lift to yield sunny conditions the one day, I hoped the same would happen the next. It was very cold and calm, and despite wearing several layers of clothes, I was cold that morning. And after hours of standing round in the thick fog, it became clear, if you excuse the pun, that it wasn't going anywhere.
After a stroll around the area, showing Steve and Tracey where the owls hunt and often hide, we followed the owls back to their roosting site and waited. Another barking dog caused one of the owls to take flight, and that was what I had hoped for, and grabbed some shots as it flew around the area near me.
After following one around the fields, probably not a wise move with a streaming cold, it settled on a post to preen. It didn't look overjoyed to be photographed doing so!