Finally! A different kind of owl! 

28 March, 2021           Finally! A different kind of owl! 

The first owl picture I ever posted in this blog was… a Barred Owl! What a surprise. That was May 15, 2011, in a post called Flora – and some fauna. Since that time – almost ten years ago! – I’ve posted countless owl pictures. Except for one indistinct picture of an adult  Great Horned Owl at Bryan Park two years ago this month, that’s all I’ve ever seen. You can check out that old picture at How can I put this delicately? Or “Praeder-Willi Continues”. Finally this week I saw not one Great Horned Owl but a pair of Great Horned Owls! And four of their offspring on the nest! In daylight! It was in every way thrilling. Here is a picture of the nest. I interpreted this as a glare, but it’s probably not: 

All raptors stare at lenses. I’m positive.

There were two adults moving in and out of the area. This one was snoozing on a branch at the same height as the nest (I estimate around 75’) but around thirty feet away: 

This adult appears to be dozing, but I suspect is acutely aware

I was also gratified to note the return of Bryan Park’s summer resident Purple Martins the same day. Here is an adult male stopped for a moment on top of the center of the three Purple Martin houses: 

Male Purple Martin gleaming in the Spring sun

Spring officially began here in Richmond a week ago yesterday. There is migration and nest building and flower blooming and egg laying and egg hatching happening 24/7. There’s a good chance this cormorant is a year round resident, but I liked this picture of it taking off at Bryan Park the same day I saw the owls and the Purple Martins: 

Cormorant taking off at Bryan Park

I nearly forgot! I went back to see the owls again Tuesday – and saw a heron take off! 

Heron takes flight at Bryan Park

I was at Deep Run this week; I regularly see a lone grebe on one of the lakes there. This one didn’t take off, it just ruffled its feathers to get them all in place, but I like the way it goes with that cormorant picture and the heron picture: 

Everybody is “springing” into flight!

This female bluebird landed on my feeder this afternoon. I’d just focused on her when she leapt up. Perhaps all these birds are “springing” into the air: 

Female bluebird leaps into flight:

This Northern Flicker didn’t mesh with the “springing into the air” theme but I hadn’t seen one in some time, so I’m glad they’re a spring visitor: 

Flicker clutching suet:

I’m not certain how long it’s been since I’ve seen a white squirrel at Deep Run, but it’s been some time. I hear a lot about them – they always seem to have “just left” – but they’ve eluded me. They’re always a treat: 

Finally got to see a white squirrel again:

It’s also been quite some time since I’ve seen deer at Pony Pasture. They never left, I just didn’t see them. There were four (possibly) more in their predictable spot south of Charlie’s Bridge yesterday. This pretty girl was standing quietly in the sunlight. Look directly between her eyes – there is a fly perched there. I’m sure winter is difficult for deer, but at least they don’t have to put up with flies for a few months. Another sign of Spring:  

Look closely – there’s a fly right between her eyes

The deer are entirely unconcerned with the dogs. I suspect in the history of that park, no dog has ever crossed the fence that borders the trail there. I’ve seen deer graze and chew their cud in that spot when the dogs are less than fifty yards away: 

I call this one “deergazers.” They really want to do some herding!

Have a great week! Next time I post to this blog it will be April! April 4 to be precise, Easter. Today is Palm Sunday and the first day of Passover. It’s also a great day to be alive! 

Come back next week, all best, 


PS Bonus picture – my camera clicked Monday and caught a young Great Horned Owl mid-yawn:  

Sleepy young Great Horned Owl mid-yawn:

About Jay McLaughlin

I am a rehabilitation counselor. I have many friends with autism and traumatic brain injuries. They help me learn new things constantly. I hike with dogs at the James River in Richmond - a lot. I've completed an Iron distance triathlon a year for 11 years. My most recent was in Wilmington, NC in November, 2013. I currently compete in mid-distance triathlons. And work and hike and take pictures and write and eat.
This entry was posted in Birds, Bryan Park, Dogs, Emerson, Endurance, Flowers, Fun, Great horned owl, Insects, James River, love, newfaze, Northern flicker, People, Pony Pasture, raptors, Rivers, simplify, Smiles (including "dog smiles"!), squirrels, thoreau, whitetail deer and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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