BARRED OWLS OF TOHOPEKALIGA — Dec 2012

THESE PHOTOS OF THE BARRED OWLS AT LAKE TOHOPEKALIGA WERE MADE POSSIBLE BY THE GENEROUS HOSPITALITY OF A MAN WHOSE PERSONAL DETAILS I HAVE LOST, AND WHOM THEREFORE I HAVE NOT BEEN ABLE TO THANK.

see this short video on my YouTube account [loysdefleuriot] at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o6z89fk9g_E

The Barred Owls [Strix Varia - wingspan +-42"] fly so silently and at such speeds that even though we were entirely on guard and ready, we barely anticipated their movements, let alone capture them in flight.

Our boat inched gently down a grand hallway of Spanish Moss hanging like nature’s white wedding Tulle, and ribbons from the tall Cypress trees with their bases plunged into the bark-blackened river. These Cypresses lined the tributary feeding into Lake Tohopekaliga to Makinson island like regal guardians of antiquity. The mid-morning insect-filled riverine buzzed, pregnant with seeming anticipation, as we sat in our friend’s boat with our cameras pointed to the treetops waiting for the inevitable swoop of wings.

Only the previous week this owl had drawn blood on the scalp of an inattentive visitor. I only saw the large bundle of brown feathers coming at me when it was six meters away. I swung my Canon 5D around equipped with a super-fast 50mm Canon EF 1.2 lens set at a speed of 1/1000. The flash blinked into its face to cause it to swerve upwards over our heads. One of the pictures on the profile captures this moment as this magnificent specimen veers away from us. We had disturbed it from its morning sleep. The repeated ‘attacks’ that followed by both male and female filled the next hours. It would be hard to describe the way we felt that glorious day in the shadows of the Cypresses.

We left the tributary where they nested, heady with the thrill of our experience, but also with a clear sense of an unforgettable moment. These are my best offerings of an attempt that warrants an encore!

Loys 130408

The metadata is available for each shot at my http://500px.com/loys1

©2012 loys de fleuriot de la colinière