Tonight we wandered the woods in search of saw whet owls and eastern screech owls. What you are seeing above is the latter. It's definitely not your usual birding or class experience. We wandered the forest in the dark stopping every so often to play calls to attract the birds. None of the birds were biting to our mobile calls, but this eastern screech owl did like the tapes playing near the the two mist nets that were set up. An awesome experience. Now if I could only capture an owls image without them being in the professors hand!
Quick note on the photography. I highly suggest practicing your technique and exposure settings. The night before I setup a teddy bear with similar colors and tested the exposure. It may have looked awkward, but when you can only take a few shots without disturbing the animal greatly you need to make it count. Once you have that down hold steady and try to compose in the dead of night! The one advantage of using the flash for autofocus is a special feature with the SB-800 I have. It uses the red spectrum to focus which has a high visibility to the camera and is much less disturbing to all your subjects. I disabled the modeling light to avoid further irritation.