I've been going to the Grasslands for the past 5 or 6 years trying to get good photographs of the short-eared owls. During those years, I've gone almost every Saturday and Sunday for at least 3 months, spending roughly 4-5 hours each visit standing around and hoping to get good shots. Many of those days the temps were below freezing and I left with frozen fingers and toes that hurt so badly and would still be cold hours after getting home and being in the heat.
In the past years I've gotten some decent shots with only one award winning shot. That never deterred me from going. In fact, it has encouraged me to keep going in hopes of finally getting a bunch of award-winning shots.
It's very early in the season for the short-eared owls and so far I've had numerous excellent days. And even a few days where I went home without a single shot. Today however turned out to be my best day ever there as I got shots I've dreamed of getting all these years.
The day was gorgeous! Sunny and temps that reached 45 degrees. A perfect day for winter photography. And for once, I chose the best spot ever. Only one owl flew the entire day and that owl was extremely generous to fly in circles around me. It came in so close on several of the laps and at one point it landed on a post right in front of me.
The post landing was very brief as the owl flew in, landed, heard the shutter of my camera clicking away, then it looked at me and with this "oh crap" attitude, it flew off like a bat out of hall. The opportunity lasted only seconds and I was thrilled that I was on my game and didn't screw it up.
At the end of the day, I left the grasslands a truly happy camper and anxious to get home and look through my photos. What a great way to finish off the year!