If you follow this blog then you know early in the week I post about my weekend experiences and later on about my travels or something that has caught my eye. But a Barred Owl encounter yesterday was so special I decided to make a separate post.
And the timing was eerily coincidental since I had recently reread a post on the ABA blog about ethics.
As I posted last week a foggy encounter with a Northern Harrier was all too brief. Like many birding experiences the harrier was there one moment and gone the next. Not much I could do about it. That’s the way it works out.
But it was my choice yesterday to limit the time with the Barred Owl .
I had stopped to check for waterfowl on one of Atterbury FWA’s small lakes. Saturday’s plan was to spend several hours walking Johnson County Park. So I wasn’t going to stop unless I immediately saw something. No waterfowl. But a bird was warbling in the trees. Not a House Finch. Purple Finch?
Once deciding to stop I have a self-imposed rule stating I have to bird the area.
No 3 minute eBird stops.
Parking the car I hear the warble one last time. But now I’m committed to bird the area.
First a Swamp Sparrow pops up for a few photos.
Note: The caption in the next photo is important.
Note, I have zoomed the camera in and left it there.
I decided to bushwhack to the lakes’ other side where the waterfowl usually congregates.
I haven’t bushwhacked far when for whatever reason I notice a Barred Owl behind and to the left, hidden in the scrubby brush.
Maybe 10 feet away.
In all my years of birding I have never been this close to an owl. At least not an awake one. And that one was 20 feet up in a tree.
Thinking the Barred Owl is going to fly I slowly raise the camera and take a photo.
The owl doesn’t move and backing out the zoom I take a few more photos.
Checking the photo’s time stamps the Barred Owl encounter lasted less than 1 minute.
But unlike last week’s Northern Harrier encounter this time it was my choice to come and go quickly.
I never looked back and went about bushwhacking to the other side of the lake.
Even though it lasted less than a minute I can guarantee this will be one of those moments I will recall years from now.