Great Horned Owl Sighting

This morning we set off on a familiar mountain bike trail, only we rode the trail in reverse from our normal route.  It’s like magic – a whole new trail!  Several weeks of rain, followed by lots of quick spring growth of the greenery, made the beginning of our bike ride a bit like a jungle! Everything is green and lush, including the poison ivy, but the woods are beautiful in spring.  The greens are very green, almost glowing in the morning light.Maclay Gardens Apr 23 2014 009

After the bike ride, we got the paddle boards in the lake and set off for a paddle.  Within the first two minutes, we rounded a corner and saw a bald eagle sitting in a pine tree.  He wasn’t interested in hanging around with us though, and soon took flight for the nearest thermal.  If you look closely at the picture, he is sitting on the right side of the middle tree.  Big white head and beautiful!  As soon as the eagle left the area, the osprey hawks came around the lake looking for brunch, talking to each other.  A great blue heron skimmed just above the water right next to us on his way to a boat house.  It was a really nice paddle with lots of birds for company.

As we started to pack up the boards and life vests, we noticed some photographers staring up at a nearby tree. We learned that a great horned owl had nested in a tree right in the parking lot, and there were two juvenile owls in the big oak nearby.  They estimate that the babies are a little over six weeks old.  The camouflage was great! The whole tree was draped in moss, and the babies were almost invisible with the fluffy feathers. They may be young, but they are not small! They are not flying yet, so they hop around the tree and wait for mom to return with food.  We spotted one looking right into the parking lot, kind of sleeping and kind of watching the spectators.  The sibling was hiding even better, high up in this big majestic oak tree, only visible from one angle.  We saw the one higher up stretch a wing, and when the wing closed again, you almost could not see a thing but moss.  Good luck owlets!   Thanks for the view.

Maclay Gardens Apr 23 2014 017

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