Monday, February 15, 2021

Long-Eared Owl

We visited Corn Springs with Judy's brother Dave and his wife Bonnie on Saturday, February 13. We'd previously visited Corn Springs with Andrew and Michaela on December 19 and I visited alone on January 16. Both previous times I saw long-eared owls, the first time thinking they were great-horned owls and getting no photos and the second time seeing substantially more owls and getting lots of photos. This time was much later in the afternoon on a cloudy day, so lighting conditions were not as good and we didn't have as much time. 

Dave and I approached the palo verde tree and I was happy to see the first owl fly. That means they've been using the same tree for at least two months. Gradually more owls flew, but it was not as large a group as last time, but more than the first time. So I assume that the migrating owls came individually or in small groups to share the same tree and probably also leave individually or in small groups.

I was much better at spotting the owls, but they were quicker to fly than in January when I was able to get some good photos of them in the palo verde tree. This time there was one owl that did not flush, even as we went under the palo verde tree. It was well camouflaged behind some branches and we were within five yards or so, so well camouflaged that none of my photos were even remotely decent. 

A wind was blowing and the upper branches of the tamarisk tree were swaying. The owls we were able to photograph were higher in the tamarisk tree than in January, but they were also less skittish. The following photos are all from the tamarisk tree. 

In an effort to get some flight photos I positioned myself just below the tamarisk tree on a small rise and had Dave go into the palo verde tree to flush the owls out after we'd flushed most of the owls out of the tamarisk tree and back to the palo verde tree. He finally flushed that last owl we'd seen previously by going right up to it and I think that it was that last owl that gave me the best front-on photo as it flew straight for me then veered off. 
This is my favorite photo - I just wish it was more in focus. This is the owl flying right at me with the hill on the other side of the wash in the background. The wings are incredibly long. 
These other photos show an owl in various stages of flight. 

I was able to get one photo of an owl I like out of the palo verde tree, basically a shadow of the owl masked by the branches of the palo verde tree. 
I am going to include two more flight photos that I was originally going to leave out. One is a horrible photo of the owl but has a rocky backdrop and the other is also a poor photo with a palm leaf backdrop. 

1 comment:

  1. I love the pictures of the owl in flight with bent wings, like elbows. I never think of wings bending like that.