Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Owl, Up Close and Personal

This is too good not to share.

Last evening we gathered down at the edge of the lake to celebrate 2 neighborhood birthdays with a little wine and friendship. We all see different things on the huge communications tower looming over the lake and we often compare "Owl Notes".

There was activity in the nest and around. We saw 4...yes FOUR owls. All seemed to be flying and it got a little confusing but there is the one huge female, slightly smaller male, and two fledglings.

Suddenly we saw one large bird sail over the lake and land on the boat davits 2 doors down. I figured it was the Anhinga that sits there almost every night...but one good look at the head and we could see it was one of the adult owls..the largest one.

I ran (rather, hobbled as fast as I could) for my camera. As I headed back out, the neighbors, still by the lake, were pointing and shouting. The owl had just skimmed a few feet over my head, so silently that I didn't detect it at all. I did find it at the top of the utility pole near the front yard.

The little Mockingbird that had been attacking it by the lake was back driving the owl further down the block until I couldn't see it any more. One of the neighbors thinks there is a mockingbird nest in his bushes.

I tried to get a picture of the huge bird on the top of the pole, but I would have needed more time to steady the camera and adjust the settings. Just not enough time. The flash didn't fire so the aperture stayed open for too long...I couldn't hold the camera that steady. Oh, to have had my tripod attached. I tried to get another photo steadying my camera on the bottlebrush tree, but it was too late.

Back down at the lake we watched the owls fly into the lower part of the tower and fly upward in steps. They must not be high flyers. Other neighbors had watched them do this after sunset, before. It seems to be their pattern for getting to the high nest. The Osprey who built the nest last year could soar right to the nest, but apparently not the owls.

I wish I had photos to share. Here is a digital scrapbook page I made a while ago using elements from Kathryn Balint (www.kbandfriends.com)

The close-up photo is of a Great Horned Owl on display at the Pelican Island Festival a few weekends ago.

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Gabby Faye
Michigan, United States
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