Great Horned Owl Baby Age Progression

I visited the great horned owl nest again on Wednesday of this week, to discover the baby out of the nest, and up high in the tree.  It’s feathers had started to turn from the grey we’ve seen in the past, to the rich brown of a mature bird.  I’m not sure if the little guy flew up where he was perched, or if he walked up the branches.  My guess is that he flew the short distance to practice his flying for the first time.  The locals all said that it was the first time they had seen him leave the nest.  It was a beautiful day, with a blue sky, although it was quite windy.  It made for great pictures though.  The only drawback is that the sun was quite harsh for lighting.  I arrived late in the day around 4PM thinking it wouldn’t be so harsh, but I was wrong.  Oh well?!  🙂 

A security guard stopped to check out the owl when he noticed he wasn’t in the nest.  He told me a story about seeing one evening, a coyote scratching at the base of the tree with the nest, and the mother swooping in to attack the coyote.  The coyote ran off yelping as the owl made all kinds of “god awful” sounds in her attack.  Man, I wish I could have camped out there overnight just once to see the mother or father.  I never did get to see them. 

Today I received word that Bubo has left the nest and the nesting tree, and that no one could find him in nearby trees or perched anywhere else.  Could he have fledged the nest so early?  So early after branching for the first time?  The parent owls usually keep caring the the fledglings for up to 10 weeks.  I hope Bubo does well!  It’s likely that Bubo will not return next year, although his parents might.  So enjoy the video and the photographs.












And now I’d like to take a moment to thank both Sue and Tsumi. Tsumi for being the liaison between his roommate Sue and I, and Sue for arranging security access to the nesting site for me so that I could photograph Bubo. Thanks to both of you!







Absinthe Minded Professors at Steam Century Mystery (A Steampunk Event)

A couple of weeks ago, I was hired by a couple of Chicago based performers to photograph them at a Steampunk event in Rockford, IL.  They are called “The Absinthe Minded Professors”, and they are a storytelling duo who perform at Steampunk events in and around Chicago, consisting of Joshua Safford (the storyteller), and Michi Reiger (the violinist).  The steampunk event was called “Steam Century Mystery” and was held at the Midway Village Museum in Rockford, IL.  It was a very cool live action mystery event, based in an historic 18th century town, complete with hotel, blacksmith, church, schoolhouse, and much more.  It was my first Steampunk event, and won’t be my last.  I enjoyed both photographing the event, and the creative photoshoping, or photo alchemy, that occured afterwards.  Below are some of the images from the event, as well as links to the local Steampunk blogs and websites where you can find out more about The Absinthe Minded Professors. As always, click on the pictures to take you to the galleries where you can find more.

Absinthe Minded ProfessorsSteampunk

Absinthe Minded ProfessorsSteampunk

Absinthe Minded ProfessorsSteampunk

Great Horned Owl and Osprey Nest Updates

Last Thursday I was able to revisit the great horned owl nest that I photographed a few weeks earlier.  The baby had grown quite a bit in those 3 weeks for sure.  The weather was nice, but the sun was on the other side of the tree when I arrived because I needed to go in the morning.  I still didn’t get to see the mother though.  I even walked the trails around the nest to look for her roosting somewhere nearby, but only found a multitude of other birds instead. 

So the little guy that the locals call “owlie” was very quiet when I arrived around 10:30 or so.  He slept for about an hour and a half, and then woke up and started moving around.  Making all kinds of faces, cocking his head back and forth with some attitude, making funny eye expressions, etc.  It was neat to watch.  Below is my favorite photo from the day.  Click the photo to see the whole gallery.

After visiting the great horned owl nest, I ventured over to the osprey nest I had been to the week before. I think the female must have been incubating, because she never left the nest. The male was flying around gathering soggy branches and weeds for the nest, but the female never left it. So she’ll probably be there for quite some time now. Below is my favorite photo of the osprey nest from that day. Again, click the image to view the whole gallery.

I’ll keep updating you with photos as time progresses with each of these nests. If you want to stay up to date with these, and with my blog in general, look for the subscribe button on the right hand column of this blog.

Strange Days

So last week I took lots of pictures, and I have some to show you now that I’ve processed them all.  Quite a few odd things happened while I was out shooting last week though, and so I thought I’d write a blog about those oddities. 
 First off, the day before I went shooting last week, was a full moon.  (Que up Twilight Zone music.)
So I started out on April Fools Day early in the morning, before the sun, to go setup at a nearby forest preserve to catch the spring pelican migration.  The news had a story on this lake where pelicans gathered by the hundreds, which I already knew about through the birding community.  Well, tons of people showed up that morning because of the news story, and NO PELICANS.  However, I did get to see and photograph Sandhill Cranes up close! 
So next I continued on to try to find an Osprey nest at another forest preserve. I got lost on the way there, more than once, but eventually I found the preserve, and found the nest. Thanks to one of my camera store customers, Gordon, for the tip on where to find this nest. I was very excited about this because I’ve always wanted to see an osprey and never have. I got some nice pictures of them, and made a little video too.
Then I proceeded to yet another forest preserve, where I was photographing Great Blue Herons nesting. At this location, I saw the weirdest thing. I saw a goose, that thought he was Captain Jack Sparrow, trying to sail the Black Pearl upside down. It was hilarious!!! Check out this picture!
So that was last week, and this week was even more strange. This week I stopped by a preserve near work on Monday because I was in the area early. As I was walking, I noticed in the corner of my eye, a squirrel sitting motionless in a tree. Not so unusual, except that after taking numerous shots, and moving around to get different angles, I realized he still hadn’t moved. Then I saw why. The poor little guy had been attacked by something, and had talon marks and fur torn away. He was traumatized.
So I continued walking, and then noticed a tiny little faerie hole at the base of a tree. I wanted to photograph it, but it was obscured by some leaves. I walked over to move the leaves out of the way, and when I reached down to grab the leaves, this ferocious, growling, scratching monster jumped out at my hand and tried to bite my finger off!!! It growled more fiercely than a Asland, and it’s teeth . . . it’s teeth were HUGE . . . with fangs like the sabretooth, and claws like, like, like a dragon!!! (No kidding, except that I think it was a terrified squirrel protecting itself when I unkowningly nearly reached into it’s home. What I then discovered after my heart started beating again, is that someone had actually boarded up the hole, and something had eaten away part of the board to get inside.) After the viscious attack, snapped a quick photograph, only to discover magick creatures appear in my photograph!
And now for my favorite photograph taken in the last week. It’s a simple photograph, but for some reason, I really like it.
Thanks for reading!