Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Return to the Owl

My father and I returned today with my son, Simon (6 1/2 years old) in hopes of another encounter with the GREAT GRAY OWL in Durham. As we arrived we heard the disappointing news that it had been there 15 minutes before we arrived and hadn't been seen since. As we contemplated our move, Simon remarked that we should just walk into the woods to look. What a brilliant idea! We soon came across some photographers in the woods who were on the bird. Simon was so excited to have his first encounter with such a mythical beast! He and I were about 40 feet away and he loved it when the owl "looked right at him!"

Formidable talons!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

April Trip to New Hampshire

It was serendipitous that as my son Simon and I were flying East to visit family a GREAT GRAY OWL was discovered a few miles from my parents' house. Dennis Abbott, Davis Finch, Todd Day, myself and others conducted the search of the Wildlife Management Area on Dame Road in Durham, Todd (on his way home to Virginia from Maine) had found the owl perched nearby. It flew up the hill a short distance and out of sight. We all split up and I followed the flight of the bird up the hill. Not 10 minutes later I spotted the owl as it flew in about 120 feet away. It allowed my approach to 40 feet where I reveled in the sight.

I have seen several Great Gray Owls over the years but never this close. The sheer size of the bird was quite surprising! He knew I was there but really didn't seem to care! It then flew....right at me! Exhilarated, I watched as it flew within 6 inches of me to a perch about 100 feet behind me. I followed and it continued to an opening where it sat in the open for a short time. Several attempts to alert the others finally succeeded at this spot. The bird then flew toward the road and out of sight....just as the others came into view.