On, Sunday, 01-10-21, I went back out looking for “Hoot” the name I gave the Great Horned Owl that I’ve photographed several times. This was the 4th time I’ve went out to check on her since Christmas Day, the last time I saw her, when I got to photograph and shoot some video of her calling to “Give a Hoot” her male friend. The past three times I haven’t been able to locate her nor have I heard her give any territorial calls or any screeches.
Yesterday, I went out walking looking for her with only my camera and 70-200mm f/2.8 lens with my 1.4x teleconverter. Today, I decided to bring my backpack with camera, long lens, tripod, etc which meant I would need my snowshoes and trekking poles.
When I got to the area where I usually begin looking for her I realized I forgot my binoculars, so I’ll have to walk up near the conifer tree where she spends a lot of time in. Not a big deal if she’s there because she’s usually tucked in and she has never gotten alarmed or excited when I’ve approached the tree many times. It’s usually because it’s hard to see her when I glass the tree from a distance. When I think she’s not in the tree only to realize she’s actually in there.
I just took off my snowshoes and backpack off when once again I heard some noise. It was the same two people with their dog walking near the conifer tree and toward my direction. They now have a packed trail in the woods.This was about the fourth time I’ve seen them. I keep telling myself I shouldn’t go out looking for the owl on the week-ends, but here I’m in the woods on Sunday.
When that couple left the area I stayed stationary for awhile before going to the conifer tree. Walking ever so slowly and scanning the tree and the general area, but she wasn’t home. I kept looking just to make sure before meandering around to some other locations I’ve known her to hang based upon sightings or signs… i.e. whitewash.
While still looking for the GHO I saw a Barred Owl dropping from a tree onto the ground out of my sight actively hunting .The owl was facing me about 40 yards away when it flew to the ground. The owl flew back up after a few seconds into another tree. I couldn’t tell if it got a vole or not, since I didn’t have my binoculars.
I decided to parallel the owl toward the general direction of my backpack. Eventually I got to an area with an unobstructed view of the owl still 40 yards away. I decided to stick my trekking poles in the ground and took a bearing toward the Barred Owl in the tree. Then I continued walking away from the owl back to my gear. My gear ended up being another another 50 to 60 yards away.
When I got back to my trekking poles the owl was still in the tree so I started setting up my gear. I was just about to set my lens foot onto my tripod when I saw the owl turned its head away from me and stand up. The owl flew away! A few seconds later someone came walking on their cross country skis close to where the owl was perched which was the reason the owl to flew away.
This was most likely the same Barred Owl that I spent about 3 hours with in December.
Today, Monday, 01-11-21, I went back out looking for the GHO or the Barred Owl. I didn’t find the GHO where I can normally find her, so I continued walking looking for the Barred Owl. When I first saw the Barred Owl it appeared to be actively hunting just like yesterday.
Today after it got done hunting she decided to perch in a nearby tree and it looked like she decided she wanted to go to sleep.