Little owls on top
In spring, the deserted quarry near the town of Kiryat Gat in Israel becomes a bird metropolis. Nest holes pepper the 20-metre-high (66-foot) walls, home to families of breeding bee-eaters, rollers and kestrels. This is where Ilia stationed his hide. Among the residents were a pair of little owls and their chicks. 'I noticed that the owls liked to perch on one particularly big rock,' he says. He dragged an even higher branch to the same spot, offering them a better vantage point in return for a sandy backdrop. The plan worked. Ilia then photographed the owls' domestic life to his heart's content, including tender moments such as this interaction between the three youngsters.
Canon EOS 5D + 500mm f4 lens + 1.4x converter; 1/250sec at f5.6; ISO 400; Gitzo tripod; hide.
Near Kiryat Gat, Israel