Owl eating Brambling onboard a survey vessel in the Danish Sector
of the North
Sea, November 2011
This picture was taken at night with a DSLR and a 400mm telephoto lens.
For more details about nocturnal photography, including direct
comparisons with this particular bird see this link.
are one of my
favourite species. They were a feature of winter birding home in Northumberland.
These days I usually only see
a few each year in Øygarden, Norway.
I probably see more owls, both Long and Short-eared, whilst offshore.
Both species routinely cross the North Sea from Scandinavia to winter
in the U.K. Often mobbed by gulls they take refuge onboard where they
can take up residence and prey on migrant passerines. They take the
birds both onboard and out over the sea - at times they have plenty to
eat as the lights of platforms or vessels attract flocks of passerines
which then become caught up in "circulations" where they circle
endlessly during the hours of darkness wasting precious energy and
never straying too far. Thus they also become easier to catch for owls
or other raptors.
Interestingly some passerines killed by
collisions in November 2011 lay on deck and were not eaten by Long-eared Owls
or Short-eared Owls that were present - these preferred to catch living
prey. I found the remains of several such passerines before I saw the
bird at the top of this page that flew in with a freshly caught
Brambling during the hours of darkness.
Owl coming in to land on a survey vessel, North Sea,
Late autumn migrant, North Sea,
using the helideck
as a vantage point, November 2011