I Stopped To Answer The Call Of Nature And Found A Great Horned Owl

/, Box Elder County, Great Horned Owls, Utah/I Stopped To Answer The Call Of Nature And Found A Great Horned Owl

Great Horned Owl close up in northern UtahGreat Horned Owl close up in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

After spending most of the morning frustrated by birds that were too far away, a totally ruined opportunity with three Bald Eagles, extremely skittish Rough-legged Hawks plus a Prairie Falcon that was even more jittery I was feeling discouraged and even thought about switching my field of photography to something less exasperating. Maybe photographing street signs or light posts would be easy?

Anyway, after hours of searching for birds to photograph and coming up basically empty handed it was time to head towards home. My one positive thought at the time was “Well I won’t have much to cull” but even that thought was a bit depressing.

Great Horned Owl portrait in northern UtahGreat Horned Owl portrait in northern Utah – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

Knowing that there was a long drive home I wanted to stop and use a vault toilet that I knew of on some public lands and to check to see if there were any birds on the way to it. Then I had another ruined opportunity with a Rough-legged Hawk just after getting off of the paved road and onto the dirt road that goes to the area where the toilet is located. Just more frustration and disappointment.

At the vault toilet I got out of the vehicle, peed and got back into the “mobile blind” and when it started to move forward I glanced at the old wooden, boarded-up shed behind the vault toilet and saw two yellow eyes looking back at me from less than 25 feet away.

Blinking Great Horned OwlBlinking Great Horned Owl – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/200, ISO 400, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I stopped to answer the call of nature and found a Great Horned Owl and to my delight it was a very cooperative owl at that. The owl was the bird highlight of my day and after spending hours trying to spot birds and being frustrated when I couldn’t get images of the birds I did find I could feel my frustration level slowly dissipate as I took photo after photo of this Great Horned Owl from inside the “mobile blind” from different angles and locations on the oval shaped road around the vault toilet and old wooden shed.

The owl never showed signs of discomfort and that may be because the area where the vault toilet is located does get heavy traffic at this time of the year so it might be accustomed to human encroachment and activity.

Sleepy Great Horned OwlSleepy Great Horned Owl – Nikon D500, f7.1, 1/250, ISO 800, Nikkor 500mm VR with 1.4x TC, natural light, not baited

I’m so very glad I needed to stop to answer the call of nature yesterday when and where I did because if I hadn’t I would have gone home with a fairly empty memory card and instead I have lovely close up portraits of a wonderful, obliging Great Horned Owl.

You just never know where, when or why you might find great birds to photograph.

Life is good.

Mia

13 Comments

  1. Laura Culley December 12, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    Awesome! The one-eye-closed shot reminds me so much of my grandmother who would steal half naps while watching her grandkids (including me). Sometimes the other eye would close but you could still know she was watching!
    I just love GHOs. (OK, GHOWs). They’re really spectacular! But here’s a tip April (and other rehabbers) will appreciate. Don’t EVER let them get their talons in you! That’s very, VERY bad! It’s no picnic with other raptors, but GHOs get serious about grabbing folks. Just sayin’!

  2. LSClemens December 11, 2017 at 5:33 pm

    Fabulous shots! All the more satisfying when we least expect them!

  3. April Olson December 11, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Hah, I can see Ron’s truck in the iris of the right eye in the third photo.

    Great find!

  4. Ken Schneider December 11, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    Nice find, and very cooperative owl! I wonder– What will I see, When I stop to pee?

  5. Nicole December 11, 2017 at 1:55 pm

    absolutely stunning creature!

  6. Elephants Child December 11, 2017 at 12:59 pm

    What a treat for you (and us). Thank you.

  7. Pepe Forte December 11, 2017 at 11:41 am

    Mia, you have just redefined the WOW factor! My God those are great portraits!
    I guess you can honestly say that while going potty… you had a true Hallelujah moment.

  8. Patty Chadwickly one of my favorite birds December 11, 2017 at 8:15 am

    That’s supposed to be “good” not “goal” (wonder what I’ll get this time)…

  9. Patty Chadwickly one of my favorite birds December 11, 2017 at 8:12 am

    WRONG!!! That’s not a GHO,,,It’s a Mule Deer or a donkey in disguise….great pictures even so…goal you had too pee!!!

  10. Ilze Long December 11, 2017 at 7:17 am

    Yes, when one gives up and least expects it, the eye catches someone wonderful to see and photograph. Has happened to all of us, I think.

  11. Liz Cormack December 11, 2017 at 6:53 am

    Oh, wow! And all because you had to pee. I agree with Kim…..pee more!

  12. Kim December 11, 2017 at 5:56 am

    That is sooo cool! Awesome shots! Pee more! lol

  13. suzanne Mcdougal December 11, 2017 at 5:52 am

    The best. I’m happy for you. A day saved

Comments are closed.