The baby Great Horned Owls have grown and left the nest. Don’t know what it is about photographing Owls but I always feel like I’ve hit the lotto every time I get a chance, and to photograph baby Owls from the time they were born to the time they left the nest was exciting to say the least. If you look at the bottom of branch in this photo you will see the other baby who was camera shy, in fact it was a month of filming the nest and countless shots until I realized there even was a second baby.
News Flash! So after weeks of checking out the Owl nest and taking pics I had to take a week and go back to the land of madness to take care of some business. On my trip I was able to procure a new (used) but new to me Nikon D7000 so upon returning to my slice of paradise I was anxious to take some pics and check out the progress of the baby Owl. I packed up my usual gear, (fishing poles and camera) and went to check on the Owl nest I could see the baby and started taking some pics, I checked the LCD on the camera mostly to check my lighting as trying to check resolution in the sunlight is pretty much useless, all looked good so off I went. When I got back to the Houseboat I quickly loaded the camera’s memory card in my computer, I was anxious to see how the camera worked and I was also anxious to check on the progress of the baby Owl. To my pleasant surprise there was not one Baby Owl but two Baby Owl’s sitting patiently looking like little bank robbers waiting for their mother to return with breakfast. I have been looking and photographing that nest for months and could not for the life of me see the other baby Owl…. It’s hell getting old.
While fishing an area near the houseboat I found myself scanning the trees in search of some photo opportunities. The trees nearby are usually host to nesting Red Tail Hawks and while scanning one of the nests they used last year I noticed something odd so I put my fishing pole down picked my camera and zeroed in on the nest after taking a couple of shots and zooming in on the LCD on my Nikon I realized a Great Horned Owl had taken up residence in the nest.
Every day on my way out to fish I would pass by the nest take a couple of pics and check on the progress of this magnificent raptor. Day in and day out, rain or shine her vigil continued. She was usually hunkered down sleeping but on occasion she would fly out of the nest only to have another owl come and perch on the branches of a nearby tree while she was gone. This I am quite sure was the Male and as time went on I realized the male was roosting in a tree nearby.
When the female needed a break he would fly to a branch nearby and stand watch until the female returned. This pair of owls communicate constantly as if to say, are they here yet?… No not yet… I need a break … get over and watch these eggs while I go to get something to eat will ya…
Today while fishing, on my usual pass by the nest I noticed the nest was empty and figured this might be a good opportunity to catch the Owl as she returned to the nest, yesterday I got my first opportunity to get a photo of the male as he stood by the nest talking to the female but when I raised my camera and clicked the button nothing happened …. Dammit &*%#$*&, I left my memory card in my computer, so back to the houseboat I went for my memory card when I returned the male had gone and the female was sitting in her usual position. Today though I had my memory card and a charged battery and as I settled in to await the return of the Mother Owl I noticed something moving in the nest… What the? is that? After squinting, cleaning my glasses and my lens, repositioning and taking a couple of shots with my 80 200mm lens and reviewing them, I realized the babies were here…… Yaayyy! Well at least the baby as I could only make out a small tuft of fluff peeking over the top of the nest. Not sure why but I felt like a proud father.