Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

A couple of hours in the wonderful Po delta

I spent no more than 2 hours in the heart of Delta del Po Veneto (Rovigo province). I can’t define the area a great place for nature photography, but the last afternoon I had there was really something: sunshine, warm tones, amazing subjects made my quick visit an unmissable opportunity.

At the beginning, coming to the “valli” area of delta, I spotted, among a number of Kestrels, a beautiful adult of Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus) perched on a pilon…

Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)
Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

…and a Corn Bunting on a wire.

Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)
Corn Bunting (Emberiza calandra)

Then, in a little harbour that faces to an inner lagoon, I found a Little Egret and a Black-necked Grebe, both very approachable.

Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Little Egret (Egretta garzetta)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)
Black-necked Grebe (Podiceps nigricollis)

So I reached an area where, in the past days, a Short-eared Owl had been seen. After a short search, I spotted my bird on a pole.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

It’s alway impressive to notice haow owls can turn easily their head.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

After this great close view, I tried to follow the owl hunting along the meadows of dikes. It was not an easy job, so I’m not definitely satisfied by the pics: it never flew too near the car, and I was surrounded by a mix of reeds, bushes and poles that tested hard the autofocus of Canon 7D mark II.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

It was always much better when the bird was stopping on poles…

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

…expecially with that stunning warm winter light.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

There around I spotted also some Great Egrets, Common Teals, Pygmy Cormorants (Microcarbo pygmeus)…

Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus)
Pygmy Cormorant (Microcarbo pygmeus)

…maybe 1.000-1.500 Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)…

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)

…an African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus), a recent add to the delta fauna…

African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)
African Sacred Ibis (Threskiornis aethiopicus)

…and a far Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) fishing, a rather rare bird in winter.

Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus)

But the best subject was still the Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)…

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

…expecially when it showed well its very short ears.

Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)
Short-eared Owl (Asio flammeus)

Being the light dropping down, I left the owl on its pole and I headed home. On the way back, the last photos I managed to take were to a lonely Common Buzzard…

Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)
Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo)

…and the gorgeous Greater Flamingos in the warm tones of sunset.

Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)
Greater Flamingos (Phoenicopterus roseus)

Luca Boscain

3 thoughts on “A couple of hours in the wonderful Po delta

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