Morning Walk May 23 – Wild Primrose and Owl

We’ve had incredibly gorgeous weather here in Arizona this May.  More rain than ever before and temperatures that had me reaching for that extra cardigan in the evening hours.

This morning, while walking the dog in the wash, I purposely wanted to check on the primrose that was about to bloom yesterday.

On the ground I found this.

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Looking up from where I was standing, one of the adult owls was resting.

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I did not see it the whole time walking towards the primrose.  I looked but I did not see.  The owl blends in well but perhaps I was too focused on one thing to see what else was there.

I’ve been meaning to write a post with an update on the Great Horned Owls, because to our delight, they nested in a make shift box my neighbor built for them.  They had two babies that have successfully fledged.  I’ve been sharing photos on our facebook community page.  We would love it if you like us, and while there, or even if you aren’t on facebook, you can check out the photos in our Great Horned Owl 2015 album.

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Great Horned Owl Goes For A Splash

After eating dinner tonight, I was carrying my plate to the sink when I spotted a Great Horned Owl perched above the watering hole in the back yard.

This one looks young and I can’t tell if it’s male or female.

Here’s a zoom of the image (it’s a bit pixelated).

He hung around for a while looking and surveying all directions from different vantage points.  I could tell he was really thirsty by the way he was panting.  He wanted to drink but first he wanted to make sure it was safe.

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The surveying lasted a while and then, when he could take it no more, he surrendered to his thirst and swooped down to the ground.

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I was happy when as soon as he jumped into the water, a rainbow appeared in the distance.

If you look closely you may be able to see him in the water (bottom left corner).

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We are in the middle of monsoon season and the animals, plants and humans are struggling with the heat.  Today’s high was 104, but it felt hotter.

Great Horned Owl drinking while sitting in the fountain

He drank and drank… and drank… and then just like that, he moved on.

All done.  The Great Horned Owl takes off.

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Bees Building New Honeycomb, The Great Horned Nesting, And a Peregrine Falcon Having Dinner

The bees are back.  But instead of building their hive next to the BBQ on my kitchen porch, they are building new comb in the wash.  And, the Great Horned Owl is nesting.


It’s only March 2nd and everything is green and it looks like spring already.

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The aloe vera buds are starting to open.

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When Nedra and I finished our walk, we happened on a Peregrine Falcon tearing away at his bloody dinner at the top of the utility pole.

I wish I had caught better photos.

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Great Horned Owl’s Swollen Eye Update

I have been going down to the wash nightly to look for the owls since the last time I posted about them but tonight was the first night I found them.

They let me get pretty close.  The injured eye was shut and there seemed to still be some swelling but, as we got closer and closer, the owls got nervous and took off.

The one with the injured eye got all puffed up as my dog came a bit too close for comfort.

Just before take off, it opened the swollen eye which looks cloudy in the picture.

I’m sure a bird needs two eyes to fly and judge distance not to mention hunt.  At least that’s what I assume.  Leave me a comment and let me know if you have any insight on this.

I had my ISO set to the highest possible setting but I was so excited about the owl taking off, that I didn’t track its movement fast enough and all I got is this blurrrrr.

I like the energy of this photo.   It reminds me of how I stand stunned, perfectly still, in awe, when these large birds take off above me.

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Great Horned Owls Update and Glorious Sunset

Tonight, the two Great Horned Owl youngsters were nestled in a tree together. The sun was setting and the lighting was not ideal but I got to see something that I didn’t expect. In the photo, if you look closely, the owl in the foreground is spitting out an owl pellet.

It was like watching my cat struggle to bring up a fur ball.

It has been amazing watching the baby owls grow into independence.

While photographing them, I feel like I have learned a lot about lighting, photography, and of course owls.

I have mostly used my 55-200mm zoom lens.  Tonight, I noticed that the owl in front has it’s left eye swollen shut.  Hopefully, it’s a minor irritation that will take care of itself.

I plan to monitor the situation…

With the monsoons coming, the sunsets are getting better and better.  Here’s one of my favorite shots from tonight.

I love Arizona sunsets.  No matter how many I’ve seen, they still inspire me.  They demand that I stop whatever it is I’m doing and remind me to take the time to breathe.

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Back in the nest

I would not have predicted my physical reaction to counting a total of 4 owls in the wash tonight; Two adults and two fledgelings.  The larger of the two owlets was on top of the ridge with Dad, the smaller one was in the nest…

I actually got goosebumps! And, I ran back as fast as I could to share the news with my neighbour who was heart broken when we lost track of the little one.

Thanks to all who have been asking for updates on the owls…  I welcome your comments and questions here.

 

 

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Mom and Pop on Guard

This morning when I went down to the wash, the smaller of the two adults (who we believe is the male) stood in my path quite a distance from the nest.  He was perched in a lower spot than I expected him to be and he made no sound and did not move.  A distance away was the female at the top of the ridge looking in the opposite direction. 

I felt that something was different and wasn’t sure what it was and so decided not to go any closer.

I circled around and came from the other direction but kept my distance.  I could see the larger of the babies still in the original nest.  There was no sign of the smaller one on the lower ledge. 

Normally, when I approach, the parents call to each other and fly away to draw me away from the nest.  Today, they did not move, which makes me suspect that the little one has fallen to the ground and is somewhere between where the two parents are standing on guard just east of the original nest.  But that’s just a guess on my part. 

An owlet has very little chance of survival on the ground.  We have too many coyotes here. 

I feel slightly sad but I also feel gratitude for being so close to nature.  Perhaps there’s a small gift for me to help me in learning to accept the ways of the wild.

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