Owl on the Prowl

This absolutely gorgeous barred owl has been a regular visitor to my back yard for nearly a decade, making its debut in the summer of 2008 as a youngster. The first time I saw it, it was perched on my Japanese Maple but quickly moved to the fence separating my property from my neighbor’s after getting flashed by the camera. For the first few years, it came back often, but these were the only photos I got until it was large enough and steadfast enough to remain mostly indifferent to my presence in its adopted garden.

Fast forward a few years and here’s what the owl looked like last summer. In all but two of these photos, it’s sitting on what’s become its favorite branch on the cypress trees behind my pond. Its downcast eyes — in the first two photos — are trained on the carp in the pond, and it will watch them for hours until I either shoo it away, or it manages (though it rarely does) to snag one of the fish (which are not intended as owl-snacks!) and fly off.

I haven’t seen it yet this year, but early in the evenings for the past couple of weeks, I’ve heard it — not too far away — as its very distinctive call is unmistakeable. Hearing the call again reminded me of these photos — a couple of which appeared here in 2018 when I first started blogging again and was re-learning how to use WordPress. I went through my archives and reprocessed these thirteen photos to share with this post. I think the last one’s my favorite, and, while I did use a zoom lens to get so close in, the owl was only about ten feet away: we’ve gotten used to each other, and it no longer soars off when I walk toward it with the camera. I expect I’ll get a chance to pose it in a new photo-shoot within the next few weeks.

Thanks for looking!

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Wordless Wednesday: Japanese Painted Ferns Spring Debut

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Japanese Maple Spring Berries: A Gallery

For just a few days each year as spring starts to roll in, one of the three Japanese Maple trees on my property produces clusters of red seedlings along with the emerging leaves. The seedlings — which look like clumps of tiny berries — are much prized as a delicacy by the local squirrelry: it’s not unusual to see a scurry of squirrels embracing the branches, slashing at the seeds with their Freddy Krueger claws, stuffing them behind their pointy teeth … and gnashing away. I leave a bottle of antacid tablets in the yard, because — gluttons that they are — they always overeat. 🙂

Yesterday after another of our interminable rains, I took a crack at getting some photos of the red clusters — they’ll be gone in a week! — but it was a bit too dark, too windy, and raindrop blobs on the leaves weren’t cool-looking like my tiny bubbles. So I threw out yesterday’s images and after running some errands this morning, tried again. With (temporarily) drier weather, less wind, some soft light through an overcast sky, a little patience, and a bit of Lightrooming, I got better results today.

Thanks for looking!

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Wordless Wednesday: Hosta Babies!!

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