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© C. A. Linder

Wildlife - Short-eared owl

This short-eared owl was one of the most exciting wildlife sightings of the cruise. We had been working in the open waters of the Chukchi Sea for several days. Early in the morning I was at my laptop, working on the day's HTML coding and wondering what I could photograph. My pager went off, and I quickly picked up the phone and dialed the bridge. Lisa Munger answered and said "you won't believe this - there's an owl up here!" I grabbed my camera bag, put on my coat, and began the long trek up to the bridge. As I climbed up the second ladderway, the owl soared right over my head. I quickly turned back to the fantail, but it was gone.

For the next four hours we played a game of hide-and-seek. The owl would suddenly appear out of nowhere and fly right over our heads, sometimes only 15 feet above the decks. This shot was the result of a lot of patience and preparation. Having seen the owl fly up along the starboard side of the ship, I positioned myself in a makeshift blind behind one of the small boats and waited in case the owl came back the same way. Sure enough, seconds later the owl shot by at eye level. I raised my camera and held down the shutter button. At the sound of the camera's whirring, the owl turned its head - click, gotcha!

Technical information:
Camera: Nikon D100
Lens: Nikkor 80-200mm f/2.8
Film: Compactflash

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