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  • Writer's pictureJanice Gill

Hey - who's photobombing my portrait?


Little owl on gate with a ladybird between it's eyes.
Little Owl Photobombed by a Ladybird. By Janice Gill

This shot is one of my personal favourites. I love the owl's bemused look, its untidy plumage and that it's peeking out from behind a gatepost.


Here comes the technical bit - it's shot with a shallow depth of field so that the eyes are in focus (and everything in that plane) but very little else. If you look at the feathers on top of the head, you can see how quickly they blur. The background woodland is completely out of focus, leaving all the attention on those mesmerising eyes.


Little Owls are one of the five owls to call the British Isles home all through the year. They are not truly native but were introduced to England in the 1800s. They have been spotted in England and Wales but not Scotland or Northern Ireland.


The cream and brown plumage of this stern-looking owl is freckled cream and brown, which is a great camouflage among the trees and fields they frequent. They have piercing yellow eyes, which combine with the wide flat head for that angry stare.



Little owl sitting on a wooden signpost against a dark background
Little Owl Portrait by Janice Gill

Little Owls are active during the day and can be spotted in places that make good lookouts. The tops of telegraph poles, looking out over fields, are a favourite. In the image above, a Little Owl is standing on a signpost against a backdrop of dark woodland.


This particular owl is resident in a sanctuary, which is why we were able to get so close. Some of the birds will be released when they are well. Sadly this one was rescued from a private owner who couldn't look after her and would be unable to look after herself in the wild.


I joined a group of fellow photographers for a morning shooting birds of prey in the grounds of the sanctuary. If you are new to shooting birds of prey, I highly recommend joining one of these photography days to get some fantastic shots before you set out into the wild.


Photographers who pay for access to these birds help to fund the sanctuary so it can continue its fantastic work. We were privileged to watch a falcon being released into the wild while we were there. It had been brought in with a damaged wing, nursed back to health with minimal human contact and was allowed to fly free.





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4 Comments


Julie Jordan Scott
Julie Jordan Scott
Jul 12, 2023

Where were these owls from, originally,before they were introduced to this area? So facscinating!

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Janice Gill
Janice Gill
Jul 18, 2023
Replying to

Hi Julie, they were introduced from continental Europe.

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Alice Gerard
Alice Gerard
Jul 12, 2023

What beautiful photographs of the owls! We must have gotten the same memo because my blog post is also all about bird photographs!!!!

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Janice Gill
Janice Gill
Jul 18, 2023
Replying to

😁

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