birds, Florida wildlife, natural wonders, nature, Nature's beautiful creatures, nesting, on closer examination, Owls, perseverance, photography

Whoo is that???

This post came up as a memory yesterday and I’ve been knocking my head against a wall trying to figure out how to republish a post.  I went back again but wasn’t able to get as nice photos as I did this first time.  And now the owls of Philippe Park are feeding babies again, but I’m missing it this time around.  Next time for sure.

Photographers are a friendly bunch.  They freely share information on where to go to see whatever birds you may wish to see.  Upon losing the eaglets my attention turned to the Great Horned Owl nest I’ve been hearing about.  One of my new acquaintances posts info on the current conditions in the various parks around, so I was well aware that Phillipe Park was the place to go to find an owl-ette (?).  I had never been there before, but I was hopeful that I would find the nest.  I asked directions once I was there and was told to go through the 4-way stop and look for the paparazzi, LOL, and it worked.  Well, it got me to the area, but the other photographers had to point out the nest.  One even moved over to give me a better view, and finally I spotted the Mom up above the nest in a tree.  Some of them had been there for three hours when I got there, but I was just in time, they said, because they expected her to move to the nest any minute.  Then it would be feeding time.3-7owls1The Spanish moss that you see was a challenge to shoot through.  It was hanging from limbs between the owls and where we were standing, and it was blowing back and forth.  I had to switch to manual focus because auto focus kept refocusing as the moss came into the viewer.  Then someone yelled that she was in flight…3-7owlsfeatureOnce she landed all you could see was the baby, sort of…3-7owls2And we all scrambled across the way, hoping for a better angle.3-7owls33-7owls73-7owls43-7owls63-7owls53-7owls8And oh by the way, I wasn’t far off with my made up owl-ette.  Siri says it’s actually owlet.  Such a cute face, and quite the wing spread from the glimpse I got of that.  I have no idea what I used to think about before I became a bird-brain…

birds, blessings, Florida wildlife, live and learn, nature, nesting, Owls, perseverance, photography, technology

Update from Philippe Park…


I am revisiting the owl photos from Phillippe Park which were posted in February because there is news to report.  When I heard that there was an owlet at the park I headed there asap, and because of how wonderfully birders share their information I was able to find the tree.  The nest was surrounded by photographers most every day, present, but respectful of the nest.  They dubbed this owlet Charlotte, they alternate male and female names every year.  So this might have been new to me but it’s an annual event.  I only went there to photograph the owlet twice, and shortly after the second visit the photographers reported that Charlotte had fallen out of the tree and scratched her eye.  She was taken to Sarasota for rehab, and several unsuccessful attempts to return her to the nest ensued, and there was much debate among birders as to whether she should have been taken from the nest at all.  But there is good news to report.  She was recently returned to the nest area in Philippe park and is reported to have a parent with her in the trees.  All of my info is second hand, or actually third hand, but I choose to be happy and hope that that owl has a long life ahead of her in that beautiful park.

Looking for photos of the owlet has reminded me that I have never set Lightroom in my computer to fully take advantage of the abilities of the program to organize your photos.  You can tag your photos, and then a search for ‘owls’ would have brought up all my owl photos.  You can rate your photos as they are imported into your computer, or you might choose to color code them, and Jeff, fearless leader of the group, talks about how quickly he can find a photo he might be looking for among his thousands of photos.  But I’m a beginner, and he also talks about the silly things that beginners think they need to do.  Like delete unusable photos one by one, when it’s also possible to tag the photos you will eventually delete and then purge them in one fell swoop.  It drives me crazy when he talks about beginners and the silly things that they do, mostly because it’s as if he has been reading my mind.  A little, or possibly a lot of organization is needed, I see that now.  Alas, I don’t have new photos to share, but these are the ones I used previously.2-15winglet2-15owletvignette12-15owlet42-15owlet32-15owlet22-15owlet13-7owls83-7owls73-7owls63-7owls23-7owls33-7owls4

adventure, birds, connections, Florida wildlife, friends, nature, neighbors, nesting, Owls, photography, Uncategorized

Burrowing owls…

The only thing better than being lucky in love is being lucky in neighbors.  Well, okay, lucky in love wins out, but not by a lot.  If you are lucky in neighbors you might realize that your neighbor ran his lawnmower across the last several swipes at the bottom of your yard, the part that you are too chicken to do on your lawn mower for fear it’ll tip over.  Or you will be invited to go shooting, photographs that is, and you won’t get home for 12 1/2 hours, but your dog will be well taken care of, your outside lights will be on to light your way when you get home, and your mail, including a Mother’s Day gift, will be sitting on the kitchen counter waiting for you.  

And good neighbors also mean that when you have a chance to go on a marathon photo shoot you can say yes.  It was a ride along for me.  One of my friend’s main goals was to see young burrowing owls before they fledged the nest.  Or in their case the burrow.  I didn’t know what to expect exactly, but I’d seen photos of these tiny owls standing beside their burrows in an open sandy field, with scattered shrubs and not much else.  I didn’t realize that the burrows in these fields would be marked off by short sections of white pipe with yellow tape, indicating the perimeter of their area, or that these open lots were in residential neighborhoods.  I hoped we’d see these owls, but for some reason I was dubious.  I needn’t have worried…

5-12burrowingowl5-12burrowingowl3Ah yes, the babies!5-12burrowingowlbaby5-12burrowingowlbaby2Didn’t expect them on the wire…5-12burrowingowlonthewireIn the burrow…5-12burrowingowlpopup5-12burrowingowllonglegs

Merlin said that these owls are characterized by their long legs, which aren’t apparent when they are hunkered down in the burrow, but they are showing here.

I’m a lucky gal every day, but yesterday was special…

birds, Florida wildlife, nature, Owls, photography

Honeymoon Island…

It’s not that I didn’t know that Honeymoon Island was there, but I thought of it only as the dog beach that we visited with my son and DIL, along with three dogs between us.  It was long enough ago that all three of those dogs are gone now, and Charley too.  But it was a photographer friend who posted pictures of two Great Horned Owl babies that he’d seen there who made me sit up and take notice.  He wrote so enthusiastically about how much he had enjoyed watching them interact with each other that I responded that I was going to have to go there and see them for myself.  He planned to go back the next day, he said, so I took him up on his offer to have me tag along, and I’m so glad I did.  I even got to use my year pass to the Florida State Parks for the first time since I bought it, saving the $8 entrance fee.  Good omens all the way around.  I always go off with the camera with a certain amount of fear that this will be the day that I don’t manage to get any ‘keepers’.  And I consider it a minor miracle when I do.  Luckily it was that sort of day yesterday.  Having a tour guide was a huge plus, thanks Larry.

3-14twobirds2He warned me not to use up my SD card as I took shot after shot of this little guy.  He assured me that the second one would pop up momentarily, but I couldn’t help myself, I just kept shooting.3-15owl4

3-14twobirds33-14twobirds3-14twobirds53-14twobirds4And he was right, of course.  We watched for a long time, and I came away with lots of photos.  It was hard to choose favorites…

3-14twobirds6It was windy enough that the tree they were in had a certain amount of sway to it, and they eventually leaned into the tree beside them as if to shelter from the wind.  Another photographer spotted the mother in a neighboring tree but I wasn’t able to see her.  The nest was buzzed by a vulture at one point, making me nervous, but no harm no ‘fowl’.  Sorry, couldn’t help myself…




birds, Florida wildlife, nature, nesting, Owls, perseverance, photography

Jeepers creepers…

“Oh, jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those eyes?
Oh, gosh all, git up, how’d they get so lit up?
Gosh all, git up, how’d they get that size?”

If you sang that song to yourself then you are also of an age, like me!

If you were hoping for excitement at the nest you are in for a disappointment.  The excitement happened the day before, or so I was told.  It seems that a rat snake was headed for the nest and Mama Owl flew down and tossed it out of the tree, and down amongst the photographers who were gathered below.  I wonder if anyone got photos of that?  I wanted to go back today see him, and sure enough, I think he has more dark feathers now.  They fledge, that’s fly in case you haven’t Googled this stuff, at somewhere around 45 days, and best estimate puts his age between three to four weeks.

Several photographers were giving up the vigil when I got to the nest a little after 10 AM. The photo everyone wants is of Mom when she flies out of her tree and down to the nest. I’m told that the little guy eats on his own now, so this trip happens less frequently than it used to.  The one guy who stayed had been there an hour longer than me, and as of 12:15 Mom still was stationed in the same tree that I saw her in the last (and only) time I had visited the nest before.  He had printed photos from the day before of Mom and baby lunching on a rabbit, so maybe  she hadn’t been to the nest because there were leftovers to eat today.  I had to leave to get home to the dogs, but Don was still there, watching and waiting.  When you have invested in a really great tripod you can sit in a chair and fire your camera remotely.  My next investment?  Only if I can figure out what to get…2-15Mamaowl2-15owlet12-15owlet22-15owlet32-15owlet42-15owletvignette12-15winglet

“Jeepers creepers, where’d ya get those peepers?
Oh, those weepers, how they hypnotize!”