A Ghost in the Darkness

We knew there was a pair of Barred Owls in the area, probably nesting. They had been courting since February, the sounds of their softly hooted sweet nothings floating through the trees. So when a large bird flew in front of me in the quickly fading light, silhouetted against the still light western sky, and landed in a tree on the pond bank, I had a pretty good idea what it was.

Figuring I had nothing to lose, I walked back to the house and grabbed a flashlight, then headed to the truck for my camera. Suitably armed, I walked slowly back to the pond,peering into the trees. I finally picked out the shape of what I thought was the owl, moved in a little closer and hit it with the light.

Yup, definitely a Barred Owl.  I kept creeping closer, shooting a couple of photos, knowing that he was going to fly at anytime. When he did, he surprised me. Instead of flying into the trees, he flew back across the pond and landed on the ground. Perhaps he caught something, I don’t know. I couldn’t see well enough to say. Once again, I slowly moved closer, trying to shoot while holding the flashlight (a pistol-grip spotlight) and camera simultaneously, a decidedly difficult endeavor. This was the best photo I got:

Considering the conditions under which they were taken, the few photos I shot came out OK. For anyone interested, these were shot handheld using a Nikon D7100 with a Tamron 150-600mm lens fully extended, a shutter speed of 1/200th second, f6.3 and ISO 2000.

I finally pushed my luck too far and he was in the air again, this time heading for the trees and silently disappearing into the growing darkness.

Leave a Reply




You can use these HTML tags

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>