Like I mentioned yesterday, Vermejo Park Ranch is amazing.  Over 580,000 acres stretching from short grass prairies to 13,000 foot mountains. I spent a couple of days exploring the lower prairies looking in part for the resident burrowing owls that live in prairie dog town there.

Burrowing owls are a very threatened species, largely from habitat loss. I have not had much luck seeing them in the past, but they have a nice population at Vermejo, and after a few days, I managed to find one that would let me get fairly close.

I photographed this little guy from my truck window, but those pictures were from too high of an angle and just kind of impersonal, so I finally crawled out the other side of my vehicle and dropped to the ground to shoot him at eye level. That made all the difference in the world.

Oh. Did I mention how cute they are? Less than a foot tall, with skinny legs and big eyes – what’s not to love? (BTW – they like to stand and nap on one leg- this is not a one-legged burrowing owl).

Burrowing Owl

Burrowing owl, Vermejo Park Ranch, New Mexico, USA. Canon 1Dx. 1000mm.  ISO 1000. 1/250 sec. at f/14. EV +1/3.