There are not too many places in the country that one can come across the Little Owl. And we lucked out as soon as we reached Tso Kar and managed to find this guy on our first pass.
He was extremely alert to our intrusion and kept a very close watch on us and if we managed to breach his circle of confidence, he would fly away and find another perch. He would display signs of his discomfort by rocking back and forth (or side to side) before flying off and finding a perch at a comfortable distance.
The Little Owl is partly diurnal and often uses perches that are elevated (so that they have a good view of their surroundings) and they perches boldly and prominently during the day. Which is why I could manage several clean shot quite quickly – usually not something one can manage with pictures of owls. The reach of my 600mm lens on a D500 crop body helped ensure that I didn’t have to breach his circle of confident in an attempt to get these images.
Having got a few clean shots, I then turned my attention to trying to get a shot in flight. Which was helped by this particular specimen being suspicious and fidgety. Just when we would think that he had settled down and try to get closer, he would fly away a shot distance and find another perch. The wide open Ladakh topography came in helpful here as we could try and renew our approach to his next perch.
When he perched on this nice rock next, I was hoping that his next flight would be in a line parallel to us. From a single-point focus, I switched to the group focus – I had set up a short-cut on my D500 just for this purpose – hoping to get a few shots off as he took off. And I was rewarded with these…
Would have been happier with a slight head turn but then there are only so many things that one can control.