We were sitting on the driveway pad yesterday evening after work, settling in for some serious Friday night R&R and supervising a couple of burghers on the grill, when we noticed the silhouette of a very big bird some distance away, improbably perched at the apex of a fully grown spruce tree.
"What IS that?" Hubby wondered. "A hawk?"
I sprinted into the house for the binoculars and my camera. (Well, when I say "sprint" I'm actually referring to "maximum shuffle". I'm old.) Against all odds, our visitor was still there when I got back and trained my sights on it.
"The head is too wide. I think that's ... an owl! A really, really big owl."
Being about 12 years old at heart, we immediately started stalking it to see how close we could get. Answer: not very close. When we got about halfway there, it regarded us with disdain for a few seconds before gliding away on silent wings.
It was nearly dark, and I was hand-holding my longer lens set simply for "no flash". So there are no amazing shots. But I was able to severely crop and lighten one frame to get a better look.
Unless I am very much mistaken, this is a great horned owl - the first I have ever seen.
And I was thrilled about that until I did a little research. According to allaboutbirds.org, in addition to the expected rabbits and mice they also kill a lot of things I'd rather they didn't, like the barred owls we've enjoyed here for years, ospreys, herons, and geese.
Suddenly, that dark silhouette seems downright sinister.
P.S. while surfing around for owl info, I happened across this remarkable video of a barred owl calling. Just thought I'd share.
It's so hard to know where to begin when one has been such a
sporadic blogger. There's all the guilt for not keeping up, not to
mention the indecision about which subject to choose when so many are in
the queue and time is so short.
But I figure it's hard to go wrong with baby deer. We have a bunch of
them around at the moment, including this set of twins.
So here ya go.
All together now: "Awwwwwww!"
And here's Mom. Note, she is sticking out her tongue at me:
It's hard to take yourself too seriously when a friggin' deer is giving you the raspberry.
* Second attempt to publish. Sorry if you're seeing two entries.