A cool blustery morning this November 12th, 2013. A high of +2c but with the winds it sure felt much cooler. I finished my physiotherapy mid-morning and got myself a Timmy's and went for a walk near the house. I didn't have the camera with me and thought just taking in the brisk air, sipping my coffee and enjoying the sights and sounds of nature would be awesome. And it was, as most times it can be...
I enjoyed Cardinals, Chickadees, Jays, Ducks, Gulls, and a few Golden-crowned Kinglets through my trek along with a couple sleeping Raccoons, no humans, and that coffee was damn good.
As usual, I'm scoping the conifers (cedars, pines, spruce trees) and any cavity, no matter the size, that I could see without the help of my binoculars or camera lens. And to my joy and surprise somewhere along that walk I discovered an Eastern Screech Owl sitting on the edge of a tree cavity up the path. We had about 40 to 50 ft between us (rough guess but it wasn't close) and I just froze right there, looking at him, and he looked right back at me. If you read my last blog about the Saw-whet Owl... I said "no matter how softly you walk, they always hear you coming" and this guy sure did.
As usual with Owl encounters, I didn't spend much time in his company and I didn't move in any closer because I didn't see the point. I just watched from a distance, sipped my coffee... and I could feel a battle within me, the joy of the birder spotting such a wonderful creature and the photographer side cursing away about how I'm missing a great photo opportunity. I don't really like to refer to myself as a photographer because my outings really are what this was... just being out, enjoying what I see and hear, and the creatures are living beings and NOT photo subjects to me. I just love getting a few photos when the opportunity presents itself to me and especially with Screech Owls in cavities because they are unique photos, no two cavities are the same and its great to show how the birds blend in. See my Masters of Camouflage blog as testimony to this! I love to share what I see in my travels with family and friends and slowly turn people on to getting outside their own neighbourhoods and enjoying all that is around us in the wild world. But anyways, the joy and the disappointment battled away in the back of my brain while I watched this bird. Eventually the birder won, kicking the photographer's ass out of the moment and it was great.
Here is pretty much what I saw (zoomed in of course) as the cavity wasn't more than 7 or 8 ft from the ground. This is Echo from a photo shoot we had at Mountsberg's Raptor Centre a few years ago. Now if you came across such a thing in the wild, wouldn't you wish you had your camera with you?
This blog has been brought to you by me, an Owl, White Owl Whiskey and Zimmers Hole!