Barred Owls of Colleyville Nature Center

I had been seeing several Barred Owls posted on some of the facebook groups I follow taken at Colleyville Nature Center.  So I decided I would go check it out.  When I got out there the morning of April first, there was already 5 other photographers there.  They stated they had seen one Barred Owl but couldn’t get close enough to get any decent shots.

I asked them if they minded if I tried to call them and see what might happened.  I have called both Barred and Great Horned Owls with my photography buddy Mike (“the owl whisper”).

I set up and called one time, within 1 minute I had both the male and female sitting in the tree above us.  Let me introduce the cast of this post.

The female:PBKJ6837-FrameShop The Male:PBKJ6975-FrameShopI believe them to be brother and sister from last year.  That would make them too young to breed.  I later found the other Mature set I believe that are sitting on eggs.  Therefore, I believe they have kicked these two out to fend for themselves. Having grown up together they are really sticking close to each other.  I had seen several photos of both owls on the same branch but I wasn’t that lucky!

I have studied Owl behavior in the field over the past 3 season and believe I am starting to understand them.  I asked the group if they had all the portrait shots they wanted they replied yes.  I asked if they wanted a launch or flight series.  They didn’t believe I could use a different call to launch and fly straight at straight at us.  I told them to get their settings ready. Once there were all ready, I called and sure enough, they male few straight at us.

Male launch series:PBKJ6882-FrameShop PBKJ6883-FrameShop PBKJ6884-FrameShop PBKJ6885-FrameShop PBKJ6886-FrameShop PBKJ6887-FrameShopNot everybody got the shots they wanted.  We followed them fly from tree to tree leading us away from the home tree.  I then told them lets go get out into the open so it would be easier to get some flight shots and sure enough I called them right over for 2 or 3 passes back and forth across the open area.

PBKJ6866-FrameShop PBKJ6898-FrameShop PBKJ6902-FrameShop PBKJ6903-FrameShopMike had instructed me to get your shots and not to over work any one bird.  The were very receptive and more than cooperative. I didn’t feel too bad since I knew they weren’t nesting and it was 68 degrees so they were needing extra energy to stay warm.

I then headed deeper into the woods to find the nest tree of the breeding pair.  I had seen photos of the hole and it didn’t take me long to find it.

The group watch that hole for a good 30 minutes, nothing.  I told them I don’t call females off the nest.  I said I would try and call the male to see if he was guarding the nest tree from above.  One owl usually watches over the tree while the other sits on the eggs.  The guarding owls hunts and brings food back to the nest.

I called once,,, waited 5 minutes nothing.  Used a different call and called one more time, sure enough the male climbed up out of the hole, sit there for photos and then launched.

PBKJ6951-FrameShop PBKJ6959-FrameShop Dang it!  Too much glass and clipped the wings.PBKJ6960-FrameShop PBKJ6961-FrameShop

On the way out back to the car, the juvenile pair was really being harassed by several blue jays.  I called the male one more time since they were both very active trying to lose the Jays.PBKJ6975-FrameShop PBKJ6976-FrameShop I’m batman!  I have been trying to get this pose where the owl is looking through the finger wings.  They wings weren’t opened as much as I wanted but I still like this pose.PBKJ6977-FrameShop PBKJ6978-FrameShop

I will be going back to check foe babies and fledging as time allows.  I hope to be able to juggle golf, photography and some pool time.  It really feels good to be shooting at least once a week and finding some interesting stuff that is helping to make Texas feel more like home.

Life is good and I am blessed!

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Barred Owls

During my recent trip to the quad cities to photograph eagles I was invited out to photograph “Brown Owls”  I introduced the cast yesterday.  Thought today’s post I would start with the Barred Owls, since we found them first.

Here are the stars. PBKJ5256-FrameShop PBKJ5279-FrameShopPBKJ5236_2-FrameShopPBKJ5313-FrameShop PBKJ5319-FrameShop PBKJ5323-FrameShop  The Launch Series!PBKJ5347-FrameShop PBKJ5348-FrameShop PBKJ5349-FrameShop PBKJ5350-FrameShop PBKJ5351-FrameShop

Next to get edited the Great Horned Owls!

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Life is good and I am blessed!


Chasing Brown Owls with Mike F

A true friend and great photographer agreed to take me out to some of the local owls to his area.  It was really special for him to trust me with his secret locations, let alone share a ton of his “Owl Whispering” Knowledge.  There are guides that get $400 a day for this kind of in field session.  I am guessing I am way less of a threat now that I am 1000 miles away.  This morning of Brown Owls will be forever in my memories as one of my top 10 days photographing wildlife.

This time of year both Barred Owls and Great Horned Owls are paired up and ready to nest and lay eggs.  Owls mate for life and once you find their den tree or nest you should be able to find them year after year.

I went out on Day 1 with another photographer Robert, but it was so windy we couldn’t get any owls to answer or show themselves.

Saturday morning was way different.  We found and photographed 3 pairs of Barred Owls and 2 pairs of Great Horned Owls.

Lets meet the cast for the next 2 or 3 post, as I have some many full-frame keepers I don’t want to rush the editing.

Barred OwlPBKJ5256-FrameShop

Great Horned OwlPBKJ5476-FrameShopEven though Mike and Robert know areas where the owls hang out there is never a guarantee that you will be able to find them.

Here is a full-frame of a barred owl, can you find him?PBKJ5248-FrameShopHow about the first Great Horned Owl?KJ5D3150-FrameShopHope to have some launch series and flight shots edited in the next day or two.  After I get caught up on Owl edits, I’ll switch over and work on some Eagles, but I have 1400 plus eagles shots to process.  I might have been a little trigger happy knowing this was my one and only eagle trip of winter 2015/2016 Eagles.

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Life is good and I am blessed!