Short-eared Owl Frustration!
It was a brisk winter day in the Skagit Bay area in Skagit County, Washington. The goal was to capture this beautiful Owl in flight. There were several other photographers there also attempting to catch the moment. We watched the two Short-eared Owls work for hours on end looking for a meal. They would cover an extensive area following pretty much the same oval pattern.
The two Short-eared owls would occasionally get lucky and find a vole to snatch up. Whenever this would happen, they would get buzzed by another predator. Their capture of the vole was very short-lived and always ended up that the aggressor whether it was a Juvenile Eagle, Hawk or a Northern Harrier would take the vole.
On this occasion, it was one of the female Northern Harriers that was determined to have the vole. The Short-eared owl was using all its skills of flight to outmaneuver the Northern Harrier. It untimely proved to be too much, and the owl released the catch.
The other owl had seen the event unfolding and was on the way to help! Not sure about that, it might have also been going to move in for the take. The Northern Harrier went into a steep dive down to get its prize.
As the aerial battle in the sky was going on another female Northern Harrier was on the ground and had already located the vole. She was determined to keep the vole and was ready to have a battle of her own. Events like this played out pretty much the entire time I was in the area.
Tired and with the sun setting, the Short-eared owls decided to take a long deserved break on fence posts.