Last week a friend mentioned witnessing a barred owl soar across the path where he and his dog took daily morning walks, land in a white pine tree, and stare down at them with its disk-like brown eyes. Living across the street from this very park, I was very disappointed that I had not heard or seen any evidence of this owl yet. Fortunately, good friends in the naturalist world know the value of such observations, so the following day as I was packing up to leave for my summer adventures, I received a hasty text message saying “owl in the park. same spot. now!”
Even though I was behind schedule and not quite done packing, I grabbed my camera, switched the lens out in favor of my 75-300mm, snagged a big long-sleeved flannel shirt (knowing the blackflies and mosquitoes might be oppressive at that time of morning), and quickly walked up the steep hill to the park, took a shortcut to the trail intersection, and kept my eyes to the sky. I considered all the naturalist knowledge in the depths of my brain to try to guess what type of tree or how high or far out on a branch the owl would be located, when Joe spotted it high on a branch of the white pine (the white pine next to the one I was searching. Alas).
The mosquito and blackfly bites were well worth the experience of observing this observer.