Thursday, April 19, 2012

A Great Horned Owl in the Ramble

Today was another gorgeous day.  I'm getting seriously spoiled!  I decided to go up through Strawberry Fields, around the upper lobe, and then up to Tanner springs and over to turtle pond or maybe the reservoir.  Strawberry Fields was quite nice, with flickers all around and a red-belly going into a cavity.  I wonder if all of these red-bellies and their cavities and really making nests, or if they are food caches or something.  I mean, I'm seeing a lot of them, and I thought nests were supposed to be harder to find.  Anyway this yellow-rump flirted with me for a bit.  

Yellow-rumped Warbler
 Along the edge of the lake I saw this black-crowned night heron, I got a clear view at first but of course it went into the brush when the camera came out.  I love this shot of it peeking up out of the green, green leaves.
Black-crowned Night Heron
 At the upper lobe bridge I ran into a very experienced birder who was extremely kind to me.  First she found this Louisiana waterthrush..........
Louisiana Waterthruh
 ........ and this green heron!  And another black-crowned night heron, but I was much more excited about the green heron, one of my favorite birds.  Then she asked, quite casually, if I was there to see the great horned owl.  Huh???????  Well, now I had a new plan!  :-)
Green Heron
 Heading over to the owl spot I saw these cardinals courting, it was really cute.  I also saw a Carolina wren, it was pretty but defeated my camera.
Northern Cardinals
 Then I saw a group of birders looking up, right where I was told the owl was.  And there it was!  I actually saw a red-tailed hawk leaving when I arrived, and later someone told me that the hawk had attacked the owl and tried to convince it to leave.  The owl was not particularly impressed.
Great Horned Owl
 My first time seeing this kind of owl.  It was incredible and beautiful!  :-)
Great Horned Owl
 Okay, it looks like it's glaring at me, but it actually seemed fairly content.  Blue-jays were complaining but didn't seem to be able to gather enough numbers to make any difference to the owl.  After a while my camera arm and neck were both tired, so it was time to move on.
Great Horned Owl
 Aha!  The Carolina wren!  To the guy who was reading next to the wren, I'm sorry, I'm not being creepy and randomly taking pictures of strangers.  You're barely even in the shot.........
Carolina Wren
Another yellow-rump, looking like he's going to buzz me.  
Yellow-rumped Warbler
 I sat on some rocks for a few minutes, and a pair of goldfinches came by to bathe.
American Goldfinch, male

American Goldfinch, female
 On my way out, I stopped by the upper lobe to see the green heron again.  So beautiful!  What a lucky day.
Green Heron

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