Monday, March 11, 2013

Continuing Owl Week here at Recycled Photons ...

Last April I had a business trip to Long Beach, California.  Since I had to spend six hours on a plane, to say nothing of the time at the airport, twice, I figured I'd make the most of it. So I spent the weekend in California, exploring the greater Johsua Tree National Park area and the Salton Sea.

And one of the things I wanted to see were these guys.


Burrowing owls.

The directions to find them were very easy. Head down Highway 111 until you come to a sign that says Sonny Bono Salton Sea National Wildlife Refuge. And turn in the opposite direction, toward the prison.

We were told that the owls would be perched along the sides of the road and that's where we found them. There seemed to be an owl every hundred or so yards. We saw a dozen or so birds in under two miles. Each manning their own territory.


They were perched on sticks, mounds, fence posts, the highest point in their area. And they seemed completely unconcerned about us as we went about photographing them.


Here we have Patty lining up her shot as the owl poses obligingly.

The reason they're called burrowing owls is that they nest in holes in the ground. The owls don't actually burrow, rather they use holes dug by other creatures, including man. As we drove up we spotted one run down into a drainage hole along the side of the road. I walked up to take a look and found this.


I backed away, not wanting to stress the bird, and waited for it to pop up and peek out. I didn't need to wait long.


I have to agree with my friend Laura, they are rather cute.

In their burrows they make a sound similar to a rattlesnake when they feel threatened. I must not have been scary enough as I heard nothing.

They seemed much more concerned with the swallows zooming about overhead.


I'm not sure what this one was doing, a quail imitation?


The easiest owls I ever found.


And by far and away the most photogenic.

1 comment:

tjmcchesney said...

One of my favorite series of pics to date! Looks like he was posing for you!