A few weeks ago I had one of those days in the field that I will NEVER forget. The day started off with an unbelievable opportunity to photograph an Undulated Antpitta. Later on I had a phenomenal chance to photograph the Royal Sunangel. I was feeling pretty good about the day at this point and decided to try my luck at some owling that night. My target was the Long-whiskered Owlet and to be honest I did not think I had a chance to see it let alone photograph it.
The Long-whiskered Owlet is an enigma. The bird was only discovered in 1976 and was then not seen again until 2002! Even to this day very few people have had good looks at it.
At just 5 inches this bird is the smallest species of Owl in the world. It is so unique that upon discovery ornithologists immediately put it in to its own genus "Xenoglaux
" which means "strange owl".
That evening I trekked down a muddy trail into the elfin cloud forest and I waited patiently to hopefully hear the birds call. Before long, to my delight, I heard what I believed to be an Owlet calling in the distance. I began to use the birds call to try to lure him in towards me.
I'm sure you can all imagine the adrenaline and excitement that I was feeling when I realized that it was working and the bird was coming closer. I stood motionless. I didn't dare fiddle with my equipment. I didn't dare check to see what insects were crawling up my leg. Heck...I didn't dare breathe!!
And then...I saw a flash of movement in front of me. The moon was nearly full and there was enough light to just make out the movement. I shone my flashlight in the direction of the fluttering object and there he was not even 20 feet away on an open branch staring right at me - The Owlet
As I walked back up the hill after photographing this incredible bird I could hardly believe what had just happened. I think that there are moments in our lives as photographers that I think we will never forget. For me this was most definitely one of them
Camera Model: Canon EOS 7D
Shutter speed: 1/60 sec
Exposure mode: Manual
Focal length: 500mm