Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘owl’

I was thrilled yesterday afternoon to spot this Barred Owl (Strix varia) as I was walking on a trail along the Colorado River in Bastrop, Texas, within walking distance of my friends’ house where I am staying. The owl  appeared to be busy eating something when I first spotted it, as you can see in the second photo below, and may have been a little distracted.

I am not at all certain what was in owl’s mouth. Any ideas?

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

It’s not often that I see an owl during the day, but, thanks to a tip from a fellow visitor at Huntley Meadows Park, I managed to photograph this Barred Owl (Strix varia) on Saturday around noon.

Now, you might think that seeing an owl during daylight hours would make it simple to photograph, but, in fact, it was quite a challenge. The owl was perched high in a tree in a rather heavily wooded area. That meant that it was tough to get an unobstructed view of the owl. By moving a bit closer, I got a slightly better view, but was shooting almost straight up at an awkward angle. Then there was the problem of light, or more particularly the absence of light, especially on the face. I was patient and the owl appeared to be snoozing, so eventually I was able to get some decent shots.

I had never thought to look for an owl in that area of the park, but will now have to add it to my list of places to check out whenever I am visiting my favorite marshland park.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

While I was trying to get some more shots of the baby Barred Owl (Strix varia) at Huntley Meadows Park this past weekend, I managed to get some shots of one of the parents. I returned to the park the day after I got some shots of the owlet in the rain and word had gotten out about the baby owl. There were quite a few photographers present, including several with long lenses and heavy tripods. It was a far cry from the more intimate one-on-one session I had the previous day with the owl.

Fortunately there was somewhat better light than the day before and one of the parents was hanging around, keeping an eye on the baby, and was not hard to spot. Here are a couple of shots of that parent. It’s fascinating for me to note how the owl’s shape changes when it is hunched over versus sitting tall.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

I never got a really clear look at the baby owl that day. Most of the time it sat on a distant tree with its back to me. Occasionally it would glance slightly over its shoulder and I got this shot during one of those occasions. It gives you a general ideal of the owlet’s body shape compared to the more elongated body of the parents.

Barred Owl

I thought I’d finish off this post with a couple more shots of the baby owl from my first encounter. The owl was closer to me, but I was shooting upward in a rather steep angle. The perspective is a little distorted, but you certainly get a good view of its fuzzy bottom.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

Read Full Post »

Early yesterday morning I didn’t expect to see much wildlife or even other people. I was a little surprised when through the falling rain two individuals came walking toward me. One of them asked me if I was interested in seeing an owlet. Without a second’s hesitation I replied affirmatively—I’ve seen an owl in the wild only a handful of times and had never seen an owlet.

We walked together for a short while and then he pointed to a dark lump on a broken-off branch high in a tree. There was a quite bit of foliage, but eventually I found a visual tunnel to the subject and zoomed in. At first, it was hard to tell what I was looking at, but gradually as I began to make out the mottled feathers, I realized that the little Barred Owl (Strix varia) was facing away from me.

I didn’t have much choice of a shooting position, because the leaves and branches of nearby trees obscured the owl from view when I moved to the right or to the left or tried to get a shot from the direction in which the owl was facing. So with my umbrella in one hand and my camera in the other, I watched and waited. I tried to be as stealthy as I could, but the owlet seemed to be aware of my presence and every now and then curiosity would prompt it to sneak a peek in my direction.

I am still going through my photos and may do another posting later, but wanted to share an initial image of one of the owlet’s glances in my direction.

Barred Owl owlet

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

As I walked slowly toward a fellow photographer pointing her camera deep into the woods, I suspected that she was looking at an owl. In a quiet voice, she explained to me where the Barred Owl (Strix varia) was perched. There were a lot of branches and vegetation between us and the owl, but eventually I was able to spot the owl.

Initially the owl was facing directly in our direction, but then shifted its body to the side, all the time watching us from behind the branches. I stretched and bent as I searched for a visual tunnel that would give me an unobstructed shot of the owl, but couldn’t find one. These are the best shots I could manage before the owl flew deeper into the woods. I think they help to give you an idea of the beauty and mystery of this elusive creature.

 

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

On a cold and intermittently rainy day yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park, most of the birds seemed content to hunker down in the trees. I had arrived in the park before sunrise, hoping that the weather would improve, but when the mist turned into a light rain and then grew heavier, I decided to call it quits early.

I had just opened the door of my car when a birdwatcher asked me if I was interested in seeing an owl. Of course I said yes. We walked together a short distance and the birder pointed through the trees at a cedar tree and told me that the owl was about six feet from the top of the tree. I could see the cedar tree, but could not spot the owl—all I could see was a tangle of branches.

Finally the birder decided that the best way to show me was to take a shot with my camera. When I saw the image, I had a better idea where to look. Then my battery died. The rain was coming down as I rummaged through my camera bag for a spare battery. I knew where to look, but still couldn’t really see the owl when I took my first shots, but the owl was in the frame, albeit in the corner, and I was able to make some adjustments.

Eventually I did get some shots of the Barred Owl (Strix varia). None of them are really sharp, but the soft focus, although not intentional, is in keeping with the feeling of the moment and seem altogether appropriate for a rainy day owl.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I managed to see yet another Barred Owl (Strix varia) yesterday.  Unlike my other recent encounters, I spotted this owl while it was perched high in a tree—the other times I was able to catch sight of the owl only when I flew in front of me.  I got some shots of it while it was stationary and will probably post a couple of them, but surprisingly I was able to get a few shots of it when it started flying. The previous times, the owl flew away so swiftly and silently that I wasn’t able to snap a single photo.

This is my favorite image of the ones I took. The owl’s body is in the shadows, but some of the beautiful details of its feathers are visible in a wonderful semi-circle of extended wings.

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

I can’t believe it, but I observed a Barred Owl (Strix varia) again, only a day after my first sighting and in the same general vicinity in my local marshland park. The circumstance were similar—it was during daylight hours (about 9 o’clock in the morning this time) and I first caught sight of the bird when it was flying.

The most recent encounter was a little more unusual, because the owl flew across my path from ground level and perched briefly on the branches of a fallen tree only about eight to ten feet (less than 3 meters) above the ground. The best shots that I managed to take on this occasion were mainly profile shots that give a good view of the almost human-shaped eyes as well as the small yellow bill. Many of my other shots showed the back of the owl’s head—it never looked directly at me.

I suspect that this is the same owl that I observed the previous day. One of my friends warned me that this is nesting/mating season for these owls and that they can get aggressive at this time of year. According to media sources, a Barred Owl attacked four joggers at a park in Salem, Oregon in separate incidents earlier this month and snatched the cap off the head of one of them. The park has posted warning signs that actually recommend hard hats. Check out this video from TV station KOIN for details about the owl attacks.

After watching that video, I am walking a bit more cautiously now when I am in the area where I spotted the owl, but have not yet taken to wearing a hard hat.

Barred Owl Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

One of my goals this winter was to get some shots of an owl in the wild. Every time that I have visited my local marsh early in the day or near dusk, I have looked and listened for an owl, but have come up empty-handed, except for one owl that I saw flying away from me.

Yesterday morning I finally spotted one when it flew from one tree to another as I approached. I initially assumed that it was a hawk, given that it was 11:00 in the morning. I thought it was unusual that the bird had not simply flown into the air, as hawks seem to do when I get too close.

Once I managed to spot the bird amid all of the branches, I was shocked to see that it was an owl. I was able to take a few photos of the Barred Owl (Strix varia) in its initial perch before it flew away deeper into the woods and even got a slightly blurry shot of it on a more distant perch.

Whenever I get a shot of a new species, I am so excited about it that I want to share my photos immediately. Now that I have met one of my goals for the winter, I’ll be looking to see if I capture some better images of this owl and maybe even find Great Horned Owls, which are reportedly present in my local marshland park.

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: