Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Good Night

So just when I think I won't have anything to post on my blog, there's a last-minute development. I was getting ready to hit the sack and after I turn all the lights out I usually like to take one last look out the windows to see if there's any wildlife hanging around the backyard. Tonight it's snowing and with the overcast sky plus all the other security lighting of the businesses surrounding my neighborhood, it's pretty easy to see even at night.

I always scan the trees and power poles for owls and guess what I saw?

Sure looks like a Great Horned Owl to me, don't you think?

Welcome to my yard GHO--help yourself to a bunny or two.


Meggie said...

Looks like a great horned to me...but then I didn't do too well on your bird identification test, so don't take my word for it. I'm just trying to be agreeable.

Lisa at Greenbow said...

WOW you lucky lady. Having a GRHOOW in your yard is great!

Jayne said...

Cool Ruthie!!

RuthieJ said...

Hi Meggie,
Well, to be perfectly fair, the picture isn't that great either....could be a really big cat too! ;-)

Hi Lisa,
I know they're in the neighborhood but tend to stay in the more wooded areas. I considered myself lucky to see this one.

Thanks Jayne....I thought about going out on the deck and try to hoot at it, but it was just too dang cold!

Richard said...

Don't you just hate it when you can't get a good picture but at least you got to see it. Keep looking, you never know when every thing will be just right.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Richard,
I really need to work on my night-time photography skills. I suppose if I had a tripod or a scope, it would be easier to hold everything still with the slow shutter speed.

Cathy said...

Ruthie! That is so cool. Actually I think these pictures are enhanced by the soft-focus, ghostly quality. I love the way you've always got an eye out for a bit of whimsy.

I LOVED perusing that gallery of bird photos in the quiz below. (I'm a birder - Oh, Yeah! :0)

(Thanks for dropping by my moribund blog)

Tracy said...

Very cool! A few years ago we had a pair of Great Horned Owls. We never saw them together, but we often heard them calling to each other at dusk. During the day, one would roost in the arborvitae trees next to our house. Ours were very skittish, so we could never get a good picture, but occasionally we could call and get a response.

Trixie said...

Excellent! Looks just like the silhouette I have seen many nights on my power pole.

I always think of photographing it, but have never ever tried. I love the grainy, UFO-hunter quality to them. Thanks for sharing.

Marsha said...

How exciting to spot this guy...makes me think I should start scanning the yard too!

Do you have coyotes in your area too? We are losing sleep as the dogs bark all night from the howling.

Mary said...

Ruthie! Did you hear him? I hope so!

A few months ago, before sunrise, I saw a GHO on my neighbor's rooftop and I remember the HOOT. I looked it up on Cornell and yes, it was a GHO.

Awesome for you! I hope he finds what he wants...and keeps coming back.

RuthieJ said...

Hi Cathy,
So glad you had a chance to stop by. Your kind words make me feel a little better about my not-so-good picture.

Glad you got to check out the bird quiz and good to know you can proudly call yourself a birder too!

Hi Tracy,
That's cool that you got to see your owls in the daytime too. Great-Horned Owl is really the only owl call I can do pretty well. I don't think they've ever responded, but I get a kick out of standing outside and hooting like some kind of madwoman!

Hi Trixie,
I had to look through the binocs first to see if it really was an owl. That's the first time I've seen one on this pole.
I'm glad I could fiddle with the contrast enough on my basic photo software to get something identifiable in the picture.

Hi Marsha,
This would be a good time of year to start watching and listening for the Great Horned Owls because their mating season has begun--they nest the earliest of all our birds.

No coyotes close by--the area has gotten too built up with commercial businesses (GRRRR!!) There is still some agricultural and wooded areas across the highway where coyotes used to live but I haven't been out for a while to hear if they're still around. I bet their howling really makes your dogs upset!

Hi Mare,
I didn't even open the door. I think he would have been too far away to hear anyway because of all the highway noise last night.

That's pretty cool you saw one right in your neighborhood! I love to hear and see them.

Deb said...

Ruthie- wow, your neighborhood is LIGHT at night! I remember that from living in the suburbs, but I don't know if I could handle that again. It's dark here, and I like it.

Great sighting, by the way.

Jennifer said...

Oh... how cool is that! I've had a hawk in my suburban backyard... but I don't think I've ever had an owl...

RuthieJ said...

Hi Deb,
You're right about the light and it really SUCKS! I truly envy you the dark nights and silence that living in the country provides. The low clouds and snow on the ground reflects even more of the light.

Hi Jennifer,
Last year I had juvenile red-tailed hawk that hung around over winter and liked to sit on this pole, but this is the first time I've seen an owl. Maybe they've been there all along and I just need to become more observant.....

Richard said...

I was thinking of a birding scope also until I liiked at the price. Add to that, I would have to get another camera to fit on it and all of a sudden the cost is up around $800. Guess I'll stick with what I have for right now. But you might think of getting a Monopod. They hold your camera pretty steady for long shots and you can you it as a walking stick when out on the trails. Sure works for me.

Richard said...

Ooops...Looked instead of liiked. They need a spellcheck on this thing.

RuthieJ said...

Monopod, eh? Sounds like a good idea Richard! Thanks for the tip

Ruth said...

Very neat pictures and I am sure it is not a cat! I tried so hard to see the one that visited us last week, but there was no snow, no moon, now way to see it. Just that call...
This week would be better.

LauraHinNJ said...

Noooo.. leave the bunnies be. Go for a squirrel or racoon instead.