Monday, February 17, 2014

There you are!

I returned to the conservancy on Sunday to try and locate a Barred Owl. I hadn't seen the one I've been photographing this winter at its regular roosting site since last month, so I checked a few other places I thought it might be. While hiking the trail system, I found many of the same bird species I observed on Saturday, including a Sharp-shinned Hawk, which is a bird I don't see very often at Pheasant Branch. Cooper's Hawks are far more common there.

Walking the conservancy trail is physical and meditative exercise. Sometimes my mind drifts and wanders, other times I organize my thoughts and plans for the day. I really needed a filing cabinet. It's amazing that even in the digital age how many documents and important papers one accumulates.  I have stacks stuffed in shoeboxes, dresser drawers, and various filing folders. I was thinking it sure would be nice if they were all in one ...

"Who cooks for you, who cooks for you all!"

Ah ha! The call came from about 200 yards away. Now perhaps the owl didn't mean to give away its position, but it didn't take me long find it. There's a particular height they like to perch and on a clear day it's always the sunny side of a tree. I know this owl pretty well. I've even gone to the conservancy at night to watch it hunt. Also, early in the morning to watch it bathe in the creek. It knows nothing of my habits or intentions, only that I'm something it must keep an eye on. It's in no way tame. I think it just puts up with me because I keep quiet, maintain a respectable distance, make no sudden moves, avoid making eye contact, and only stay as long as it takes to get a couple of pictures.

All images © 2014 Mike McDowell