April 5, 2014

Who Goes There?

Barred Owl
I spotted this adult barred owl and baby (hiding behind the leaves to the left) last night at Myakka State Park after getting a hot tip from a nice birding couple visiting from Delaware. We met at the birdwalk, where it was relatively quiet as far as birds go, so I tipped them off to a small group of wild boar that I encountered earlier on my way through the park. After chatting some more about birds, our conversation wrapped up and they were saying goodbye. And, that's when a distinct thought popped into my head: 'Ask them about the highlight of their birding trip.' So I did. The man's eyes shot wide open and he exclaimed, "The barred owls! Oh, the family of barred owls we saw! Here! Today! At the park!" Next thing you know, they gave me perfect directions to the nest, saying "One good tip deserves another." Isn't that something?!  When I arrived at the nest, the light was low and the owls were eating. (I was a bit shocked to see them devouring a bird carcass, since I thought barred owls stuck to a strict diet of small mammals and reptiles. But, my trusty "Birds of Florida Field Guide" confirmed that they do indeed eat small birds.  Ah, life in the wild.) I maxed the ISO on my Cannon at 3200, and managed to squeak out a couple of shots when they weren't moving.  A return visit with better natural light is now on my to do list!  Have a great weekend.

12 comments:

Nancy J said...

This is superbly stunning. Did you get any photos of Rafa and Novak in the final? I was a bit, well, lots, disappointed, but that is the way it goes, and Rafael is always gracious in defeat. Cheers, Jean.

We are: clamco said...

Oh how I've missed your nature photos. This one is a beauty!

Andy said...

Excellent shot. He (she?) sure has his eyes focused on you.

Kate said...

What a wonderful find!! Talking to strangers always reaps benefits and you met the perfect birding couple! You did a a great job with the light!

Lowell said...

Lucky you! This is a fantastic shot.

Lois said...

It is a fantastic shot! I am so jealous.

Kathy said...

You may have had low light but it's an excellent shot!

Jack said...

A nice discovery. I saw a barred owl one night in the community I used to live in, in Fort Myers. I was going for a walk in the dark around 10 p.m. when I saw something sitting on a mailbox. I kept walking slowly but steadily and didn't turn toward it. I probably walked within twenty feet of it and it stayed there until I was down the street.

Birdman said...

We had a barred owl hangin' at night on our garage rooftop. Beauty.

Virginia said...

That is some shot. Bravo. I"ve never looked an owl in the eye but you two obviously did!
V

Kay said...

Lucky you! Great shot! I hope you do get a chance to make some return visits.

Brian King said...

What a handsome owl!