Monday, January 17, 2022

Owls: Hoot and Give a Hoot (Great Horned Owls) & Benny the Barred Owl 01-15-22

Owls: Hoot and Give a Hoot (Great Horned Owls) & Benny the Barred Owl 01-15-22

On Saturday, 01-15-22, I went out to find the owls. Usually, I’ll go see if I can find either the male or female Great Horned Owl. If I don’t find either one of them I’ll go looking for Benny the Barred Owl.

I spotted Hoot, the female, Great Horned Owl from a distance. She was perched high up in a large oak tree. When I put my binoculars on her I saw Give a Hoot, the male, perched next to her.

He’s always more difficult to see without the binoculars because he tends to concealed himself better behind any branches. I’ll also glass Hoot to see where any distracting branches are so I can plan my approach to her. Today she wasn’t positioned where I could get any decent photos, but neither was Give a Hoot. I’ve already decided to get one or two photos of them and move on to look for Benny the Barred Owl.

I stayed where I was at and just watched for several minutes. While I was there Hoot made a territorial call. Give a Hoot, was very alert. I took a photo of them together, but a large branch was blocking Hoot’s head and he was behind some branches. Give a Hoot jumped to another branch while I watched. I thought maybe he was going to fly away, but he didn’t.

I decided to walk slowly to get the best shot I could get of the two together. I was able to focus on Give a Hoot who was now staring at me with his big yellow eyes. Hoot had other things to do like sleep.

Once I got the shot I walked back to my backpack and put my camera away. Give a Hoot was still next to Hoot when I walked away from them.

My plan now was to see if I could find Benny the Barred Owl. While walking to get to his area I came across 7 to 8 deer beds in one area in the snow.

Once I got to the area where I’ve found Benny many times in the past I didn’t see him. Since it was still early in the afternoon I continued to search some other areas for him. The walk was slow going because of the deeper snow and the fact that my backpack weighs around 25 pounds.

Almost 2 hours later at 1607 hrs I was back to the area where I found Benny a few days ago. While standing still I looked to my left and there he was with his back to me. Benny was partially hidden behind some Ironwood leaves.

I walked a line that would parallel him. When I got close I noticed my foot tracks in the snow by the deer beds that I walked by earlier. I don’t know if Benny had been in this area the whole time or not, but if I wasn’t looking down counting deer beds I might of saved myself 2 hours of additional walking.

Benny was actively hunting. I got a couple shots of him with his back to me before he flew closer to me. I was shooting handheld with my 500mm lens with my 1.4x teleconverter and I barely got him in the frame before he flew to his next perch. Let’s say I filled the frame with Benny. He stayed in the area where I got some other shots of him. Just before I left the woods three does were very curious on what I was doing so they walked over to check me out. I was able to get a couple photos of them. too.

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