14 February 2019
A group of up to seven short-eared owls has taken up residence on Aberdeenshire's Forvie National Nature Reserve.
Ron Macdonald, a former Scottish Natural Heritage manager, has been fascinated by the birds' antics since their arrival last October.
He and other wildlife-watchers and photographers, including Darren Dawson, have taken dozens of photographs of the owls as hunt for prey and interact.
Mr Macdonald said: "Short-eared owls are a dream to photograph.
"Because they fly in daylight, often slowly and perch on posts, they make fantastic portraits.
"They can be tricky to photograph when flying against the background of heath and dunes but with some basic field craft and photo skills, you will soon get the hang of it."
He added: "They also become more comfortable with people over the winter, becoming familiar with the visitors hoping to capture their good looks and interesting behaviour."
The nature reserve near Ellon is managed by SNH.
From 1970 to 2010, short-eared owls disappeared from almost half of its former UK breeding range, according to the British Trust for Ornithology.
The current UK population is estimated to be between 610 and 1,240 pairs and is a rare breeding bird.