Thursday, January 7, 2010

Barred Owl Encounter

On a recent visit to San Antonio, TX to spend the holidays with my daughter, I had the pleasure of making the acquaintance of a pair of Barred Owls (Strix varia). 

Taking advantage of a little break in the not-so-nice weather that had moved into S. Texas, we decided to get out of doors and wander an inner-city park situated along the river.

As we were strolling along, looking here and there, discovering the presence of this little bird and that, a large striped bird flew into a nearby tree.  My first response was to call out,  "Look, it's a hawk!  No, it's an OWL!"  It perched for a few minutes as it contemplated who or what we might be before deciding what to do next.

My adrenaline level was elevated beyond all measure, the GOOD adrenaline!  My heart was beating so hard I thought it might break through my chest wall.  I've had very few owl sightings since becoming a birder, although I have made several attempts.  And here he was, sharing our time and space. 

The world stood still once more.

He flew to a nearby tree, a more picturesque setting, and hung out for quite awhile, much to the dismay of the resident smaller birds.  They dive bombed him, and squawked at him, and he just blinked his eyes, looking around, unbothered by the commotion he caused.

How do I know he was a he?  Because when he finally flew away, and I turned to continue my stroll, look who I found sitting almost exactly where he had first landed, watching our every move -

I wonder what she was thinking?


Stephanie said...

Beautiful couple! Owls always appear so elusive but you've captured it perfectly.

KaHolly said...

Timing, Sweet Stephanie, was on my side.

Carrie P. said...

Wow that is so exciting for you. We hear owls in our woods at night but I never see them. I have even gone out with a flash light looking for them. Maybe one day I will get to one like you. That is so awesome.

Craig Glenn said...

HEY enough with the owls! I need to come birding with you!

I so want to photograph an owl....

Great shots and awesome experience I know... good for you K!


Audrey said...

Isn't he cute! We have an owl pair that live in our trees. Don't hear them in the winter, do owls fly south for the winter?
Do hear them all summer though.

KaHolly said...

Audrey, Generally, owls are not migratory. Some species will wander south in search of food.

Craig, I just got lucky.

John said...

Stunning Photos Karen, the Barred owls are just fantastic birds.

Wish I could find more Owls over here in the Uk.

Well done Karen.


KaHolly said...

Thank you, John. Helps to be in the right place at the right time!