Not an Empty Nest!

While staying in St. Petersburg (Florida) for a few days with our wonderful friends Tom and Lindsay, they drove us to a wonderful nest site of a Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus), that was located in one of the nation’s top birding locations … Fort DeSoto park. This owl has only one eye and nests pretty close to the ground, in the crotch of a large tree. To protect the bird and it’s nest, the park has set up a temporary fence around the nest site, to protect the bird and the nest from onlookers. As you can tell, it had been raining when we arrived … the owl’s feathers are noticeably wet and not as fluffy or the “horns” (which are tufts of feathers, not horns) not as tufted as they would normally be:

Great Horned Owl on nest

Great Horned Owl on nest

We later heard that, just a couple of days earlier, two chicks had been seen in the nest with mom. But with the weather being rather cool and wet, mom was keeping them warm and dry! Also, we were only able to photograph at the nest for about 10 minutes. After making a dozen or so images, one of the Fort DeSoto park rangers stopped by and told the small group of photographers that they would need to leave. Apparently, a water line had broke somewhere in the park and they didn’t want anyone in the park while crews worked at finding and repairing the broken line. It certainly would have been nice to be able to stay a while longer and maybe see the young ones, but it was not to be. Maybe next trip!

Photo Equipment Used:

  • Canon EOS 7D body
  • Canon EF500mm, f/4 IS lens
  • Gitzo 1258-GVL Carbon Fiber Tripod, with Wemberley gimbal head
  • ISO 800 (a high ISO was required due to the deep shade and heavy overcast)
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/50 sec.




Posted in Bird Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography
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