An owl hunting deep in the forest
My pup and I found this great gray owl perched in a small clearing. He was watching us when I noticed him on this fallen tree root. A short stare and he returned to scanning the ground.
At one point a raven flew over the treetops, the owl followed it pass by and then returned to watching the forest floor.
After close to 15 minutes, this spot lost whatever interest it had held and he flew deeper into the forest.
Winter owl hunting
It has been a few months since I saw a great gray owl. This afternoon, I found one down an old gravel road hunting in and around an open stand of trees.
A lot of perching and waiting punctuated with a few flights between trees.
And a couple of attack dives into the snow.
This dive was unsuccessful but she did capture two voles while I was there.
I look forward to the next opportunity to have some owl time. No matter when that is, it was great to close out 2022 with this encounter with one of my favorite animals.
I spent a morning watching a great gray owl flying over the long grass which broke up the forest. Spring has not yet taken hold so the color palette was rather pale but matched the owl’s plumage exceptionally well. He missed on the first dive into the field but came away with breakfast on two other occasions.
I hope you have fun celebrating this spooky, scary day! We have five kids and can’t wait to get costumed-up and watch them trick-or-treating!
Watching the hunt
I spent a bit of time with a great gray owl last week. It was later in the evening and it seemed to be looking for a last snack before dark.
I watched it crisscross a meadow of tall grass and make several dives out of sight. It came up without a catch on those.
Apparently, it felt like a change of location was required. Crossing the road she landed on a couple of old fenceposts and stared hard into the adjacent little fields but didn’t find a target worth chasing.
Success came when she flew out of a tall tree she had spent a few minutes surveying from. When she launched, it was a drop to just above the grass and then a sudden drop.
She swallowed while low in the grass and then rose out and flew towards me before alighting on a post right beside me. A couple of minutes later she went across another field and out of sight.
We had two wonderful encounters with great gray owls yesterday. The highlight for me came when the second owl flew across the field to a tall post about 30′ away. I took some good flight shots there. Then he glided down and landed 2′ away on a fence post beside me. When he was there, it was incredible to share the space. Being that close I was awed by the power and wisdom that I felt from him.
He stayed there for around 10 minutes before I moved further down the fence. The wind picked up as the clouds covered the sun. The owl remained focused on finding dinner in the long grass but after several more minutes, with his feathers whipping around, he flew off into the trees.
Flaring to land
This great gray owl dove at something in the hillside grasses behind this sign. I wasn’t in a good position for that attack but I was when it returned to the sign post it was hunting from.
This great gray owl was hunting in a field near Grand Valley Road a couple of weeks ago. On one of the glides between perches above the grass, she flew towards me and landed on a ranch gate behind me.
Great gray owl backlit in the morning
This owl was hunting along a field and flew up to this post close to me after swallowing a vole. The sunlight shone through the extended feathers as she flared her wings to land. The intensity of the great gray owl eyes was on full display as well. A few different elements came together to make an image that I really like.
An owl in the rising sun
I went out onto the Foothills last weekend to catch the sunrise. It was beautiful but this great gray owl stole the honors for the morning to me. I loved having her backlit by the warm sunshine while she flew to hunt in the field.
Amid a number of current challenges, I enjoyed getting out for time to photograph and put energy into this passion of mine.
Great gray owl in the late winter forest
On a solo outing to some remote roads, I found a gorgeous great gray owl perched on a telephone pole in warm afternoon sunshine.
A short wait ended with the bird gliding into the forest. It found a perch there and moved to two other ones before flying to a knot of trees close by.
She scanned the sky occasionally, watched the ground steadily but did not find a target on or under the snow. One launch had the owl drop onto a pile of deadfall. I caught a nice launch off of a tree trunk and followed the bird up to her next perch.
Soon she flew across the nearby meadow and landed in a lone evergreen. She flew along a frozen creek to a slender tee – a winter’s skeleton – that bowed under her weight.
And then she flew west, further afield, and well beyond my shooting range with the gear I have.