Tuesday, April 7, 2009

My World: Owlets!


1. Who is in the Cave? 2:29 p.m. MST 2-15-09


I first spot her in February, high up an embankment in what looks like a little cave. The Great-horned Owl sits in the dark recesses of the red caliche and waits. Below her the cars travel past her unaware of her fragile secret.



2. Nesting Great-Horned Owl 11:49 a.m. MST 3-25-09


I come back again late in the morning on March 25 to see if anything has changed. She is closer to the edge now, her wings spread protectively over her precious future. Can it really be?



I visit in the evening this time on March 31st. Perhaps the mother is out feeding. Perhaps I will see the gray fuzz balls I long to see…















4. Owlets 4:29 p.m. MST 3-31-09


…As I pull off the road my eyes are searching the depths of the little cave. A fuzzy face stars back at me, and then I see another. The little owlets are seeking relief from the western sun and push farther back into the shaded depths. Could there be more than two?




5. Great-horned owlets 5:33 p.m. MST 4-5-09


Gus and I return once again on Sunday evening with the sun lying low and the shadows growing long. We pull of the road into the gravel. We use the car as a blind. The cliff is on the opposite side of the road from us, at least 30 feet away and the cave is 10 feet up the embankment. Tonight the owlets are out at the edge and I can see all four of them. Four!



Four baby Great-horned owls. Four hunters of the night.



Four bright promises of the future.

I watch the shadows lengthen on the road before me. The black ribbon of asphalt heads south towards the peaks of the Santa Rita Mountains, which are the backdrop of my life since moving here two years ago. I see the ocotillo raising blossoms like orange pompoms to the soft blue sky and I can’t help but wonder how these fragile fuzzy owlets will be affected by the proposed Rosemont Copper Mine. It would be just on the other side of the peaks that I can see from here.




8. Evening Road where the owls nest 5:39 p.m. MST 4-5-09


I raise my eyes to the shifting light on the foothills and hope against hope that reason will triumph over greed, and that the long term value of this quiet place, this wild place, this fragile and scenic environment will win over the short term dollars of copper with the long term damage to the environment. I look at fuzzy owl babies and hope that MY World will continue to be a safe and natural place to live.


Photographer's Note: All of today's photography is by Kathie Brown with the Nikon D80 and the 70 to 300mm lens.


Shooting Data:
  1. 1/320 sec - F/4.5 Focal Length 70mm
  2. 1/160 sec - F/5.6 Focal Length 300mm cropped and enlarged
  3. 1/400 sec - F/5.6 FL 300mm Cropped and enlarged
  4. 1/500 sec - F/5.6 FL 300mm Cropped and enlarged
  5. 1/500 sec - F/5.6 FL 300mm Cropped and enlarged
  6. 1/400 sec - F/5.6 FL 300mm Cropped and enlarged
  7. 1/400 sec - F/5.6 FL 300mm Cropped and enlarged
  8. 1/500 sec - F/5.6 FL 70mm
This is MY WORLD Tuesday!

31 comments:

Beth said...

Oh they are so cute! Good searching to have found the nesting spot in the first place. You must have good eyes and good instincts. P.S., it's nice to have early morning company although for you it truly is the middle of the night--for me it's just a very early morning.

Kallen305 said...

What a find!!! So cute!! Fabulous shots too.

Kathiesbirds said...

Beth, I fell asleep earlier, then woke up and couldn't fall back to sleep. I'm glad you came over to see the owls! Actually, a friend told me where to find them but I did find a nest like this high in a cliff in Saguaro National Park 2 years ago. This one is much closer to me!

Kallen, thanks!

bobbie said...

Marvelous photography, Kathie! She thought she had her next well hidden.

I hope with you that greed will not triumph this time.

fishing guy said...

Kathy: What neat photos to share from the nesting place of a wonderful bird.

Vickie said...

Wonderful discovery, Kathie. And great images, especially with low light and distance! Hope the environmental challenges work out to preserve some balance.

Roy said...

That was a good find Kathie.
Lets hope they all survive to become big Owls.

itsnotjustapicture said...

goodness gracious...what a beautiful family of owls and fab photos of them.
thank you for sharing this special find with all of us.

Shellmo said...

Those 4 owlets are so precious! I so enjoyed these photos! I hope they stay safe and that the mine doesn't happen. We're having a similiar controversey in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan for a proposed mine that would be near precious rivers and wildlife - so far it has been blocked.

Abe Lincoln said...

Gosh, I hope and pray nobody finds the nest and disturbs the owls as a result of your post. It has happened to eagle nests. I guess they gave too specific of directions to find the eagles.


Anyway, I am so glad to have seen them.

I know you missed seeing the crow laying out those peanuts on the limb for the lookout crow to eat, so I went back and added that link to the original post. I hope you can find the time to return to My Birds Blog and see this.

Arija said...

Kathie, what absolutely wonderful captures!!! I once had four fledgeling owlets sitting on top of my rose arch at dusk and am still filled with the awe of that experience.
Thank God there are still some of us left who care for our natural environment.

Susan Gets Native said...

Wow! Four!
I hope there's lots of prey items around. That's a lot of mouths to feed.
That female is so gray. And blends in beautifully.

KatNell said...

Kathie, great pictures! What a treasure to find 4 of them! K

Deborah Godin said...

Boy, those owlets sure can stare! They can make you feel guilty when you didn't even do anything!

Amy ~ 12 Acres said...

OMG!!! How precious! Let's hope they all make it and are successful on their own. Great pics!

Celeste said...

Wow Kathie, what a fantastic find, great spotting! I do hope those comical little bundles of fluff have the opportunity to grow into big beautiful owls.

Ruth said...

What a great find! This is one busy mother, feeding those growing owlets. I wonder what the chance of survival is for all of them? They are so very cute looking.

Gaelyn said...

Kathie, who's watching who?

This is such an excellent post. Your photos are great from across the street. And such patience, taking pics along their way of growth. I sure hope their home space stays safe.

nina at Nature Remains. said...

Kathie, this a fantastic set of pictures!
And, what a treasure, indeed, to be able to watch this family so close to you.
This is a nice tribute to a vulnerable area--so glad you've recorded it here for others to understand.

denapple said...

Congratulations Grandma! Owls are so special. Nothing can evade that unblinking stare as they watch the world.

Zhakee said...

What a great thing to find and photograph! Beautiful images.

NCmountainwoman said...

What a wonderful series of photographs. Just breath-taking! And a wonderful thing to share. I'll be coming back again and again to see those owlets.

Barb said...

Hi Kathie,
The pictures of the Mother Owl and the little Owlets are fantastic. Good scouting! Thanks so much for sharing these pictures. (I've never seen an owlet before.)

mon@rch said...

How amazing to have seen these guys! Bravo photos!

Doug Taron said...

Amazing find. Amazing photos. Just amazing!

Heather said...

What lovely little owlets. Even though they are young, they have that "wise" look about them already. We can only hope that their wisdom rubs off on to the humans and that their habitat will be kept safe.

Heather said...

P.S. How do you like that lens? Is it a Nikon lens or by someone else? I have considered getting a 70-300 for my D50, but just can't bring myself to make the commitment yet. Looks like you're getting pretty good results with it!

Warren and Lisa Strobel said...

WOW! You are so fortunate. Thanks for sharing this. I loved your friend's pictures, but your words were just as lovely...

bookbabie said...

So beautiful, I love owls, but then whooo doesn't? (sorry couldn't resist!)

Kathiesbirds said...

Hello Everyone! I will try to get back and photograph the owls as well as the baby Harris Hawk. Thank you all for you comments. I do so aprpreciate them.

As for the lens, Heather, it is a Nikon ED AF-S Nikkor 70-300mm with VR reduction and yes, I like it very much!

happilyretired said...

What a lovely find. Thank you so much for sharing this amazing series of photos with us.
Hugs and blessings,