This marks a milestone of my 300th post. Knowing this I wanted to post something special, something big. Well, this is it! It is big because this Great Horned Owl can grow up to 32 inches in length and doubly big because it is my first owl to see in the wild.
It was on a morning of rain, drizzle and fog that I decided to go for a drive. It wasn't fit to walk, garden or search for birds out in the elements. Comfortable in my car I began driving over muddy, rippled dirt roads, taking first this turn and then that and all the while hoping that I would find my way out.
It was on one such road where a flurry of American Crow activity caught my attention. As I scoured the area I was shocked to see this huge Great Horned Owl sitting atop a small tree tolerating this barrage of calls and directed flights. The owl was about 150 feet from the road and the lighting conditions were not conducive to getting any great shots so, once getting my fill of this excitement, I moved on.
On my return trip, I was particularly observant when I reached this area again. Much to my surprise there was this Great Horned Owl sitting atop the spread of an evergreen. This time it was about 75 feet from me. I stopped and watched. After sitting for a while, the owl took a leap of faith from the comfortable, wide seat to the tiny tree top just in front of it.
It grabbed for the small branch with its talons. Once it got a grip on the "twig," its huge wings moved forward as if to bring down the flaps to better brake.
It managed to stop and it had the branch in its grasp. In this shot, the Great Horned Owl seems to have no neck. It even looks a little sinister with its chin low and its horns pointing skyward.
Great Horned Owls are native to Newfoundland but this is my first time to really see one. They are so interesting! Is it any wonder that they show up in stories, cartoons and movies.
In this shot, the owl seems confident that it has made a good landing and it began to wiggle itself into a comfortable position. It flapped its wings around for quite a while before really becoming at ease with its new perch.
While watching this, I was surprised to see how many little birds were flying around the area. Of course, Great Horned Owls eat little birds as well as much larger birds and rodents. I wonder if it ever ate one of those pesky little crows?
It took this owl about three minutes to get situated to its satisfaction. I felt like I had my bird watching treat of the year at being able to sit and watch all of this.
Once settled, s/he seemed a little tired and looked like s/he was ready for a nap. I was quite contented to move on and let it rest while there were no crows around. Once again I am reminded of the majesty of nature.