Well, I don’t know that I have ever heard of any owl of any type looking happy. This kind of look is pretty much par for the course for them. This particular owl was hanging near its mate, right in the thickest brush as long eared owls are known to do. Despite its look at this moment, it largely ignored me, even falling asleep at one point. This image does give you a good idea of how long eared owls got their name as those tufts are standing at attention.
Cormorant instantly regrets catching its breakfast
Sometimes you just want to enjoy your breakfast in peace but unwanted guests ruin the meal. Such was the case for this poor double-crested cormorant. It was lucky enough to snag itself a nice fish to start the day but, unfortunately for it, five pelicans were closely watching, waiting for the opportunity to steal a meal.
No sooner did the cormorant catch it then the pelicans jumped in and attacked, hoping to get the cormorant to drop the fish. In the end, they weren’t successful but the cormorant had to work hard to keep its breakfast. Notice in the last picture it is still hanging on to the fish in the middle of the scrum of pelicans.
Mama great horned owl rides out the rain in the open
Moms are well-known for their willingness to sacrifice for their little ones and this owl was no different. As a steady rain fell yesterday morning and little room in the nest for her two owlets and herself, she let them have the relative shelter of the family home while keeping watch from a nearby trash pile. This nest is along a pretty busy roadway so in some ways I can’t blame her – it is undoubtedly quieter, and she got a much-needed break from needy youngsters.
Snuggles are best with Mom, even if you are a fox
One for Mother’s Day with a couple of cute fox kits and their Mom.
Like her human counterparts, I am sure all this vixen wanted to do was relax and enjoy the morning. Her two kits had other ideas though and were busy exploring their new world requiring her to keep a watchful eye – and occasionally tolerating them climbing all over her.
Taken a few weeks ago, I was holding onto this image specifically planning on sharing it on today’s auspicious event. I wish all the moms out there, two legged, four legged and otherwise, a very happy Mother’s Day!
Golden eagle takes flight on the Colorado plains
Not the usual type of eagle I share on Freedom Friday but certainly worthy of it.
Taken at the end of March after what had been a pretty dismal photo excursion. The morning simply had not yielded much of note so when my friend and I came across this golden eagle, we were keen on making the most of the opportunity. The eagle, however, was going to make us wait. And wait. And wait.
It didn’t seem too inclined to take flight but thankfully it was a relatively mild morning so I turned my truck around, put the tailgate down to provide us a seat, and we decided no matter how long it took, we were going to wait and do our best to ‘get the shot.’ An hour later, the moment finally came and it was kind enough to give us hints it was ready to go so we were ready.
Of the 20 or so shots I captured of it launching and departing, I think this is my favorite. I love the aggressive posture, the hint of those deadly talons and, of course, that beautiful, golden mane. Patience may be a virtue and not one I am known for (ask my wife!) but this time it paid off.
Great horned owl hides in plain sight
You may recall an image I posted a couple of weeks ago of a mama great horned owl and two owlets sitting in their nest in a recent snowfall. After I snapped some pics of the trio, I started scanning the nearby stand of trees looking for dad.
I knew he had to be there, they never go far, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find him. I gave up, got back in my truck and just as I put it in drive, I took one last look and there he was – totally hiding in plain sight.
I was so focused on trying to find him in the usual, hard to spot type places they would be, I didn’t notice he was pretty much out in the open. While the look on his face said he wasn’t too happy about being spotted, he did let me get some shots that looked pretty neat with the snow coating the trees.
Great blue heron flies by the snow-covered Rocky Mountains
Just a ‘pretty shot’ as I would call it. While waiting for some more action-oriented pictures to take, I was keeping a keen eye on the horizon to the west for the right opportunity. I was seeing a variety of birds fly south to north but none quite high enough to get the scene I wanted. This modern-day pterodactyl was kind enough to fix that problem. It looked absolutely gorgeous in the morning light with the indomitable Rockies serving as a backdrop.
Eyes open, talons extended, osprey takes a dive
Focus! If you’ve never seen an osprey fish, it is hard to appreciate the absolutely relentlessness, grace, aggression and power with which they do it. Plunging from on high, sometimes hitting up to 80 mph during the dive, just as they are about to hit the water they fold back their wings, extend their talons and in an instant catch their prey.
To capture that action at the penultimate moment is an extreme challenge for a photographer as it happens so very fast. I’ve shot thousands upon thousands of images of these awesome birds of prey and you could count on one hand the number of times I ‘got the shot.’
This one, taken this past Sunday, is probably the best of the few and one which I am immensely proud of. It definitely made for a fantastic way to cap off our first camping trip of the season.
Red fox jumps up – and close
Well, this was a bit unexpected!
While photographing my favorite foxes this past weekend, one of them caught me entirely by surprise. I was doing my best to stay well-hidden behind a huge log and it was working great. They had walked by within 20 feet of me multiple times, usually having no idea I was there and never fully realizing a human was among them.
This one, however, definitely caught me off guard. They had disappeared into the thicket of trees and bushes and as I was trying to stay out of sight, I didn’t see this one emerge as my field of view was blocked by the log. Suddenly, it hopped up on the log, 10 feet or so from me!
From its view, I was into the early morning sun so it was having a hard time seeing me. I very, very slowly raised my camera and snapped off a sequence of shots as it surveyed its domain.
Thank goodness for the silent electronic shutter on my camera or it would certainly have heard me and ran off. The image itself isn’t particularly noteworthy as it was in the shadows making for tough conditions but the story behind it makes it much better.
Hope you have a fantastic #FoxFriday!
American avocets have a territorial dispute
I happened across a half dozen pair of these cool shorebirds at a pond not far from home. It was a bit late in the morning for photography but I went ahead and stopped and am glad I did. They gave me some fun shots as there were constant battles over fishing rights for various spots on the pond. The fights were kind of interesting in that apparently the way to win was to jump / fly up and land on your opponents head, pushing them under water.