Monday, November 30, 2009

The Most Cooperative Owl Ever

Decorated YOUR tree yet?

Even though nobody can really see our house in the woods, we still decorate the exterior with a few Christmas lights each year.
Sunday was tree and house decorating day. Emma handled most of it, but at one point I got inspired to decorate part of the massive live oak that lives in front of PFHQ.
So, Junior and I toted the massive RLL (Really Long Ladder) out and set it up.
I asked Emma to take a few shots while we were laddering and the next thing I knew ...


... SHE was up on the roof of the house shooting pics at eye level, even though I was quite arboreal at that moment.

Neither Emma or I fell from our lofty perches. Actually Junior may have had the most dangerous job since, as ladder stabilizer guy, he had to negotiate the vicious spiked bromeliads that grow around the base of the tree.
The big tree decorating went well, but we need a few more lights to finish it. Let's get to the owl ...
Earlier in the afternoon, just before the big tree inspiration struck, we had a most amazing owl encounter.

Okay, I know I have posted alot of Barred Owl pics here at Pure Florida, but yowza ... Sunday was the best owl day ever.

So please excuse the crazy person look below. I was just a little stoked about this owl who mostly ignored me while I practically touched his talons.


Even my winter coat can't hide my glee.

(Actually, I told my soccer girls, "I'm not shaving until you win a game!")

I may fit in with the ZZTop boys by January.


Back to the owl ...

I was stringing Christmas lights on the porch with my elf pal, Emma, when the owl swooped out of my woods and into the front yard.

My camera bag was in the kitchen, so I dashed inside, fully expecting the owl to be gone when I returned.

Not so!

It was still in the palm tree.

I shot about 3 distant, branch obscured insurance shots and started to move closer.

That's when the battery went dead.

Ack!

I redashed to the kitchen and speed loaded the camera.

Surely I had missed my owlpurtunity.

But no.

It was still there and now it was swooping down, eating something, and swooping back up.


Barred owl with bars of light.



I kept creeping closer, shooting, and creeping, shooting and creeping ... until finally it hit me that this owl was ignoring me.



So I walked slowly up until, at the end of our encounter, I was directly below it's low perch.

Only about 3 feet separated us.




As you might imagine, I shot about a zillion pics. This was the last light of the day and the sun kept slipping behind a narrow western band of clouds, so I was alternately using flash and natural light.


After a while, I left it where it was, to continue hunting whatever small beasties it was getting in it's owlcassional swoops to the ground.

20 comments:

Cathy S. said...

I had a similar encounter with a hawk yesterday morning at the barn, but of course, didn't have my camera with me. Great pics! Don't put so much pressure on those girls. I am sure that they want to see that scruf gone from your face, but to have to win a game to do it seems unfair! LOL!

cinbad122 said...

Love the pics! Those are the moments that I wish I lived in the country. But mostly I'll take the city!

Jen said...

such amazing creatures, such an amazing encounter! Thanks for sharing it with us!

Deb said...

Cool! Thanks, owl!

Dani said...

WOW!!!! AWESOME SHOTS!!!!!

And boy you're a handsome devil with your beard!!!

Thunder Dave said...

One word: Cool! ;-)

robin andrea said...

What an excellent owl adventure.

Anonymous said...

Hi FC,

I just love your pictures!

I was over at Jax Beach for Thanksgiving. Friends have a resident owl in their palm tree. With a direct shot of their goldfish pond. Bud has covered the pond to keep the fish save.

Patti

Dani said...

These and the ones that you shot where the owl was drinking are my all time faves!

Sharon said...

I just love it when that happens :)

threecollie said...

Fantastic! I love owls

swamp4me said...

Regarding your proximity to the owl, Treebeard says good thing you didn't have a mouse in your pocket ;)

As for Junior "stabilizing" the ladder? That's quite the lever arm there, no matter how strong Junior is...

Jane said...

Owlsome!

S N B said...

It was one of those "Wow!" times. Owls have a way of doing that. Nice shots.

Miz S said...

Clearly, Mr. Owl sensed that you are a friend to feathered creatures.

And don't be getting all full of yourself just 'cuz Dani called you a handsome devil.

Donna Mc said...

Too Cool! I had a similar encounter w/ some barred owls in my Mama's yard (Pasco Co. FL.) Makes me wonder about their lack of fear...are they are bold & confident, or a bit dim-witted??? I'd like to think they are bold & confident!

Floridacracker said...

Cathy,
I may be fuzzy through Christmas. Tough teams ahead.

Cindy,
YOU are SUCH a city girl!

Jen,
Oh, I love sharing these moments. Glad you enjoyed it!

Deb,
Yes, I owe this owl a big thanks. I'm glad he feels so comfortable here.

Dani,
Aw shucks maam. Thanks!

Dave,
You will have your own owl I'm sure.
When does construction begin?


Robin,
Truly, a most excellent adventure.

Hey Patti,
Neat! I wonder about our little koi pond sometimes.


Dani,
You must be an owl fan like my Mom.

Sharon,
Me too! Now if I could find a cooperative swallowtail kite when they return.

3C,
This one was easy to love.


Swampy,
Actually, sometimes I do have a mouse in my pocket, or at least in my lunch bag ... for Stewie the ratsnake.
Junior is my backup arm... :)


Jane,
Now, why didn't I think of that one? :)


SNB,
Don't you mean "WOWL!" times? heehee

Miz S,
He's never seen me dig into fried chicken.
I am sometimes accused of being full of "IT" ...

Floridacracker said...

Donna,
Welcome to Pure Florida! I prefer to think that also.

Thunder Dave said...

Working on permits right now, but I'm pretty sure we saw one swoop down from the jungle side after the brush was cleared! ;-)

Tree Hugger said...

Hey Raymond!!
Love your owl!! Last Christmas I took my husband to the Mission (St.Aug) and just as it was getting dark, a pair of owls started hooting to each other!! Looked like your owl in the picture! No one else was around - we were standing in the middle of the cemetery in front of the chapel, and suddenly the larger owl swooped down onto the smaller owl that was perched on a low branch in front of us - and before you could count to ten- "the deed was done!"
Little Sister says she'll be seeing you soon!! Great to see you on here!!
Suzan