While out birding we my son & l came across this great horned owl nest in the middle of a heron rookery. Pretty incredible we thought. After taking quite a few pictures. We found more than we expected.
As you can see here. A little white fuzzy head is present in front of the Mom. Both are looking right at us. l am using a 500 ml lens and have also cropped my shots on top. This nest is in a very safe place from being bothered to much. l have posted a series of shots l took from this date to May 17th. During this month the young owlets grew amazingly fast. And were like little fuzzy teddy bears for a bit. Then the feathers started coming in. Mom left the nest somewhere between the 3rd and 10th of May. No room at the inn as they say. The nest got very crowded when the young started growing and spreading their wings. They snuggled each other,picked at the others wing once in a while and checked everything around them out. Slept,yawned,played with a turtles shell. l guess that was lunch. Exercised the huge wings and were well fed and quite content with out Mom. Who was never far away. We heard the crows mobbing her a couple times. And she was hooting the one time. Not to far away from her babies. Our last visit was May 17th. May 18th a man was mauled by a black bear near the rookery. And the trails were closed. We heard the bear on the 17th. But after all ,we are in their turf. And you must be prepared for an encounter and behave accordingly. We carry whistles and made noise as we walked through. Oh on the way out we had the feeling of being watched,but never saw anything. This bear has been in this area for years. The man was there after dusk and whatever happened at that point. Well ,my thoughts are,bear country is a good place to leave well before dusk. l am waiting for the trails to open again to go and see if the owlets have fledged successfully. Along with our whistles we will carry a bear horn as well, and be very aware of our surroundings. No bears have been caught. But from what l have been told by a nearby 30 year resident. This is a big old bear and probably very smart. And hopefully has moved on. Probably a case of man startling bear in the dusk of the evening. l just hope all the excitement did not scar the babes out of the nest prematurely. As the water below would be their fate. The first year is always the hardest. If they survive that they are well under way. But owls in a rookery. Surrounded by water,is even a harder start to their life. Hoping that first flight gets them to dry land. Although these are not the greatest shots quality wise. Lighting for me was always an issue here. l think l captured the little owlets and their Mom pretty good. And the amazing growth of their first few weeks of life. Enjoy.
Mom squints with the sun in her eyes as she looks up at the heron above her.