Friday, March 30, 2012
Recently, I was going through some of my old photos trying to organize my library, and I was struck by one evening's photo shoot in Tilden Regional Park. I had taken shots of 2 subjects: a rabbit and a Great Horned Owl. On that day, the bunny survived the evening, as I saw the rabbit both at the beginning and end of my hike (which was well after sunset). As you can see, this rabbit has a distinctive ear, with the middle missing.
Not that surprising, I suppose, that I often see both the predator and one of its prey species. These Great Horned Owl photos are from a more recent outing, right before our March storms hit. On this afternoon, I was out looking for owls and not having much luck when I heard an owl make one call. I went to the area where I heard the call coming from and looked around intensely. I never did find the owl until it flew away. Apparently, the owl had seen me the entire time, and I was too close for comfort.
I managed to locate the owl again in another set of trees. The owl never called again, but I got lucky.
This Great Horned Owl was fairly obliging and allowed me to observe and take a number of photographs.
For the most part, the owl focused its attention on other sounds near and far.
Right after the photo above, the owl walked along this branch to closer to the end to get a better look at something in the grass below.
I stayed with the owl for a little while longer, before the cold wind got the best of me and sent me in search of warmth.
Friday, March 9, 2012
This is the same young female bobcat from the bathing photos. Here she is focused on a gopher she hears in the grass. It was interesting to watch her lock onto this specific location and then circle around the area. She eventually came to the spot of interest and sat there quietly for quite a while, before eventually thrusting her paw into a gopher hole. No luck, this time.
Here is a close up of the intense focus.
Monday, March 5, 2012
Last year, one of my most exciting sightings was a Northern Saw Whet Owl. I had been eager to see a Saw Whet for a couple of years, ever since I first got serious about my owl obsession.
This year, my luck has continued. I managed to find a Northern Saw Whet Owl near the place where I had seen it last year. My best guess is that this is the same owl as last year and that it is either a Winter migrant, or it just likes this area in the winter. I've seen the owl a few times this year, although it is often not in the best position for good shots.
Recently, though, I was out looking for bobcats (a definite long shot in Tilden, but some days you do get lucky). After fruitless searching, I decided to take a quick look for the Saw Whet. To my surprise, I found the owl, and s/he had a mouse clutched to its perch. Unfortunately, I did not have my tripod; so I could not get a sharp shot.
After a few shots with way too-slow shutter speed, I raced back to get my tripod. When I returned, the owl had already consumed its mousy snack. But I managed to get a few nearly open shots of the owl.
I particularly like this one, the Small But Mighty Owl. Those talons look serious.
I hope to get lucky and visit with this owl again.