Wednesday, February 24, 2021
This is an older stand of very large deciduous trees that is pretty open. I have a general area where I have seen the owl, but it always flies off before I’m even close to it.
Today, I got in this general area and once again I saw the owl fly off in the distance. I stopped and watched it land, then it immediately flew off again. I continued to watch and lost sight of the owl behind some trees way in the distance. I thought the owl must have landed in another tree or it continued flying directly away from me which was unlikely because it would have had to abruptly change course otherwise I should have seen it flying past the trees in the distance.
I started walking to the tree that I originally saw the owl fly from when out of the corner of my eye I saw an owl flying the other way. This was the opposite direction the first owl flew. It seemed to me that this was another owl based upon where it flew from which I don’t believe was the area where I lost sight of the first owl.
I continued walking toward the tree where I saw the first owl fly from when I noticed a large cavity in another large tree in the area where I lost sight of the first owl. That would explain why I didn’t see it continue flying after it got behind some other trees blocking my view. I glassed the cavity and could see a couple owl feathers inside.
I took a few photos from different angles with my long lens. The tree at the cavity is at least 2 feet in diameter. What I can’t tell is if the cavity drops down toward the back and a female owl could be on the nest or if the nest is the actual area that can be seen in the photos. If that’s the case I don’t see any eggs or an owl. One of the photos I counted six feather with the possibility of one more.
Based upon what I saw today was if there was only one owl it wasn’t on the nest when I first saw it and if there was two owls then the first owl probably went inside the cavity and the second owl was probably the male that flew from another tree.
Now that I have a possible nest site I don’t need to go back for awhile.
Tuesday, February 23, 2021
Monday, February 22, 2021
Friday, February 19, 2021
Thursday, February 18, 2021
Monday, February 15, 2021
Friday, February 12, 2021
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Wednesday, February 10, 2021
Monday, February 8, 2021
Saturday, February 6, 2021
The video from 02-01-21...
On Monday, 02-01-21, I went back into the woods where I’ve seen 4 different owls… two Great Horned Owls and two Barred Owls.
This video is of the Barred Owl that I’ve photographed several times in the past. There’s another Barred Owl about a quarter mile away that isn’t so cooperative.
This Barred Owl was actively hunting when I found it on my way way back from my furthest point on my owl walk. The owl wasn’t in the tree when I walked by the first time.
When I found it in the tree it was only about 10 yards away. I got my camera out of my backpack and attached my 500 mm lens and took some handheld shots before setting up my tripod.
Once I got my tripod set-up I began taking some video, then I walked away from the camera to see if there were any others good angles to get some photos. I watched the owl as it was intently listening to a vole or other rodent on the ground under the snow. It started to fly to the ground, but aborted its mission. It flew back into another tree a couple more yards closer to me. Now I was only about 8 yards away.
So now I couldn’t get the complete owl in the frame because he was so close. The owl snapped its head to its right and appeared it was listening to something in the distance. Then it flew 30 to 40 yards away and landed in the snow and I’m sure searching for his meal in the snow with its feet. The owl flew back up, but this time it didn’t appear it was successful. It flew to another tree only a few feet off the ground, but now it was downhill of me.
I walked over with my camera on the tripod, but now I was shooting down hill from the side of a steep snow covered bank. I lower my tripod to about 3 1/2 feet to get the best angle without too many branches obstructing the view of the owl. I had to kneel in the snow to view the back of the camera. There was no way I could stay like that for very long before I had to stand back up. Now I had to keep bending over to view the back of the camera.
I took several video clips of the owl because it was still actively hunting hoping it would fly and get a vole.
Because I’ve spent so much time around this owl and the female Great Horned Owl I’m always fascinated watching their behaviors. One such behavior is when they become very alert to possible dangers from above they will pull their feathers close to their body while elongating their body to make them less visible. This time it was with a crow flying overhead and it wasn’t making any sounds I could hear. The last time I saw this behavior with this owl wasn’t too long ago when it was relaxed, but it heard an eagle fly overhead behind it. The owl elongate its body and actually stepped around on the branch 180 degrees and followed the eagle until it passed. I’ve also witness this with the female Great Horned Owl.
I spent about an hour and a half watching the owl from the side of the bank before I decided to finally pack it up because it looked like the owl wasn’t going to move around anymore. Recently, I spent over three hours with it and it was content to keep me company until it was completely dark outside.
When I walked back to my backpack to put my camera gear away I saw a vole or some small rodent running across the top of the snow where the Barred Owl was initially looking for a meal. I almost felt like yelling to the owl, “Over here!”
Friday, February 5, 2021
Wednesday, February 3, 2021
“Hoot”… the female Great Horned Owl Update
Since I found “Hoot” the female Great Horned Owl yesterday after 39 days I went back to the general area on snowshoes today. The area wasn’t the typical oak and maple trees where I would expect to find an owl, but there were a few conifers.
I glassed a few conifers, then one spruce tree in the distance caught my attention. I put my binoculars to my eyes and saw “Hoot” hiding behind some spruce needles and branches. I got out my camera, long lens and tripod from my backpack and took a couple shots.
Those two shots were going to be the best shots I would get today. The area where I found her was within 50 yards of where I found her yesterday.
Now I know for certain that’s she’s not sitting on any nest right now. Will she be soon…I have no idea. The female won’t nest every year.
Now that I know her new area I’ll have to go back later on and find her again, then sit and watch her from a distance to see what she does after she wakes up. I’m not planning to do it tonight although I may change my mind.
Her right eye is closed so I’m sure she has been roosting there since early this morning. I found her shortly after 1200 hrs.
I cropped this image a little but I was a fairly good distance from her. I was using my 500mm lens with my 1.4x teleconverter, so a 700mm shot.
Tuesday, February 2, 2021
I initially thought maybe she was hunting, but the way she was positioned on the branch wasn’t a typical perch for an unobstructed view and flight to grab a rodent on the ground for something to eat. This is based upon my prior observations of her.
The open marsh was where I was standing to get the closer photo of her. My thoughts are if she would have been hunting for food she would have been facing the direction toward me and in a tree closer to the edge of the marsh because there were other trees blocking her path to the ground. But again, I’m no owl!
I have read in the past, “ Females can incubate eggs in temperatures as low as -35 Degrees F ( -31 C) and eggs have been known to survive at -25 F (-31 C) for up to 20 minutes while the female takes a break from incubation duties!” The temperatures yesterday were fairly mild going from around 18 to 23 F.
Based upon finding her in this “newer” area I believe she is on a nest somewhere in the general area where I saw her.
Monday, February 1, 2021
Squirrels Nest... before I found the Barred Owl I thought the only picture I would get today would be this squirrel nest. While looking for the owls I saw a squirrel with what I initially thought was a small dead rodent in its mouth. It was actually some leaves and grass that the squirrel didn't want to share with me. He was still adding to his nest. I watched as he ran up to this nest and went inside through the hole on the right. I waited to see if he would come back out so I could get a picture of him. When he didn't come back out I continued looking for the owls, but I made a stop on my way back.
Friday, January 29, 2021
“Give a Hoot”… the male Great Horned Owl
On Thursday, 01-28-21, I went out searching for owls. When I go out I’m always looking for “Hoot” the female Great Horned Owl that I’ve photographed and taken video many times this past fall. The last time I saw her was on 12-25-20 in her favorite conifer tree where I’ve spent 3 hours with her. When she woke up she started giving territorial calls back and forth to “Give a Hoot” her male friend. Until today I’ve only been able to get a couple quick photos of him when he was being mobbed by several crows on Monday, 01-18-21 and those photos weren’t the greatest. “Give a Hoot” doesn’t let me get too close to him before he’s off flying even under normal conditions when I’ve come upon him.
Yesterday, 01-27-21, I found and photographed a Barred Owl that I’ve photographed in the past in a slightly different area since the last time I saw it on 01-15-21. I think it adjusted its area slightly because “Give a Hoot” was being mobbed in the exact area where I used to find this Barred Owl.
So today I brought my long lens and other camera gear in my backpack which I normally do and was going back out to find the Barred Owl. First I checked most of the new area, then headed to the area where I usually have found it. I didn’t find it in either place.
Since I was this far into the woods looking for owls, I was now about a 1/2 mile from another Barred Owl that I’ve recently found so I started walking that way. I was about to make the “winter crossing” from one section of the woods I call Area A to another section, Area B , when I heard many crows making lots of noise in the direction of the woods where I used to normally find Hoot. I watched as about 20 crows flew overhead from that direction, but there were other crows still making noise. I’ve spent many hours in the woods looking to find out where “Hoot” is nesting, so I headed in that direction. When I got close to where I last heard the noise I saw a few more crows leave the area. The last time I heard crows making lots of noise in this particular area was when I briefly saw “Give a Hoot” on 01-13-21 after they were mobbing him. I wasn’t close to him before he flew off while I was watching him through my binoculars. There wasn’t any time to get my equipment out.
I walked slowly until I got in the area where I figured the noise from all the crows had come from when I spotted “Give a Hoot” in the distance. I could see him, but he was hidden by many branches. I got out my camera and lens from my backpack, but he flew off. Since I had the camera set up I slowly walked in the direction he flew and after 15 minutes or so I saw him again. I was able to get a couple of long shots, but he was still being blocked by some branches.
While watching him from a distance he flew off again, so I packed up my gear and placed it back in my backpack to go home. Before leaving I walked to the edge of the tree line in Area A looking with my binoculars over to Area B where “Give a Hoot” flew. I eventually spotted him and estimated I was probably 75 yards away. I got out my camera/lens and tripod and stayed where I was at while I took some photos and video of him. Last week-end I sat out a couple times after sunset until it was dark out listening for any sounds from “Hoot” or “Give a Hoot”. One of the places where I sat was about 50 yards from where I was now watching “Give a Hoot” tonight. It was probably around 4 pm when he flew to Area B and I knew sunset was shortly after 5 pm.
I figured I would stay out until it was dark out and see what he did…maybe I would see where he went or maybe hear “Hoot” make a call. Well, “Give a Hoot” flew back to my side of the woods at 1741 hrs, but to the general area where I first found him today. I’m not sure why he flew back to the side I was on, but there was a deer near him when he flew off or maybe he was going to visit “Hoot”. Although, if he was going to visit “Hoot” he certainly didn’t bring her a vole or bunny to eat.
I took several video clips of him tonight, but I haven’t gone through them yet.
I’ve been through this section of the woods many times and I have no clue where this two foot tall owl could nest. Although I believe she’s in this section somewhere based upon all my observations of the both of them. I think I’ve looked at every single tree up and down…
Here are some images of “Give a Hoot” from a long distance…the image where he was stretching was shot at ISO 16,000.
Wednesday, January 27, 2021
Once again I went out looking for some owls. I still haven’t found where the female Great Horned Owl is nesting. Earlier this week I went out needing snowshoes while looking for them. Today, I decided I wouldn’t use the snowshoes, but I could go relatively light in my camera gear. I figured I could just walk in my earlier snowshoe tracks to the areas I wanted to check. I recently found another Barred Owl about a mile walk from where this Barred Owl is located. I believe they are different owls because the other owl doesn’t let me get too close, although I was finally able to get a couple photos of it two days ago. This Barred Owl doesn’t have a problem with me being around. This is the same Barred Owl I’ve spent over 3 hours with recently taking photos and video of it. It took me about 3 hours before I located this Barred Owl today. I was beginning to wonder where it was at, because about a week ago I saw the male GHO in the exact same area where I’ve been finding this one. Here are some of the images from today…