Burrowing Owl On Rabbitbrush

Like most everyone else I’m a huge fan of Burrowing Owls.


burrowing owl 1720b  ron dudley1/1600 f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

I photographed this one last May on Antelope Island where they usually perch on the ground or on sagebrush so I was happy with the variety of catching this one on green rabbitbrush. It was a cloudy morning so I didn’t have a lot of light and had to go to ISO 800 with the Canon 7D which pushes its limitations.



burrowinig owl 1718b ron dudley1/1600 f/5.6, ISO 800, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in

I include this shot because (as I mentioned recently) I’m beginning to prefer images of owls where the bird isn’t looking directly at the photographer. I also like the one-legged stance which implies that the bird was comfortable with my presence (in my pickup).

When I noticed another vehicle approaching I suspected it might take off so I quickly removed my teleconverter to (hopefully) give me enough room in the frame for the extended wings and more shutter speed.



burrowing owl 1732b ron dudley

1/3200, f/4.5, ISO 800, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS II USM, NR applied to background, not baited, set up or called in

It didn’t work. As you can see I clipped both wings but that’s a result I prefer over a blurry bird.

So far this spring I’m seeing more Burrowing Owls on the island than I have this early in previous years so I hope that’s an indicator of good things to come – for me and for the owls.


Note: Originally I identified this perch as greasewood and had it labeled as such in my title.  It isn’t greasewood, it’s rabbitbrush so I’ve edited my post.  One of the problems with blogging is that when you make a fool of yourself you do it so very publicly…



One-footed Merganser – Giving Up On An Old Friend

The older I get the more I root for the underdog and this merganser has been near the top of my underdog list for three years now.


common merganser 7215b ron dudley1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS USM +1.4 tc, not baited, set up or called in 

 Three winters ago (2-16-13) I photographed this one-footed Common Merganser at Willow Pond near my home (I’ve posted other images of this bird but this one is new to my blog). Its left foot was missing and I suspect it was lost to fishing line (this birds companion was entangled in line and had a fishing lure in its bill). Attempts were made to capture and help these birds but those attempts were unsuccessful so I assumed that neither bird would survive for long. But I was wrong.



common merganser 2699 ron dudley

1/2500, f/7.1, ISO 500, Canon 7D, Canon EF500mm f/4L IS USM, not baited, set up or called in 

Almost exactly a year later (2-13-14) I encountered this same merganser (now in adult plumage) at the same pond (I’ve posted this image previously). I’m virtually positive it was the same bird because its left foot was also missing. To think that this bird was able to not only survive but also to migrate to its northern breeding grounds and return tickled me pink. So this winter I’ve checked the pond about three times per week to see if the merganser had returned but I never did spot it and it’s late enough in the season that I probably won’t.

That doesn’t mean that it’s not still out there somewhere, chasing down fish with only one foot for propulsion. I sure hope it’s been doing just that and is now on its way to Canada for another breeding season.

If you missed the full report on this bird, more information and images can be found here.


PS – Sorry about the delay in posting this morning.  Our electricity went out for about an hour and a half – a helluva way to start the day…