Swooping In

It was a day of heavy rain a couple of weeks ago. Thoughts went into my head that perhaps the rain had brought some birds down and I could find them easier. As the storm was easing and passing through, I headed out to Patuxent Research Refuge – North Tract to see what I could find.

Driving through a tree canopy on the entrance road, a huge bird swooped in and landed just along the road in a small puddle. Whatever could it be? I think it’s an owl. But what kind of owl could it be? Is it a Short-Eared Owl? Is it a Barred Owl?

It was so close to the car on the passenger side, I couldn’t see it so backing up the car I watched the owl swoop up and land into a tree. I had backed up enough that I could get out and open up the back mostly unseen by the owl.

With my camera set up, I walked out and there he was. Sitting in a tree looking drenched from the rain.


Naturally, the owl knew of my presence far faster that I wanted to. But he didn’t seem too disturbed. Taking a few captures, the owl then flew to a better perch. It’s as if it knew it was time to pose for the paparazzi.



Take a few shots…get a little closer. Take a few more shots…get a little closer. He just calmly sat there for about ten minutes and I was able to photograph him to my heart’s content. In fact, I got about 20 feet away with my 500mm lens and decided it was close enough. Not wanting to disturb the owl too much, I turned and left him to dry off after the rain.


He quietly said goodbye to my retreating steps.

19 replies »

  1. Great photos. I’ve been trying to get photos of the Barred Owls at Watkins Park. I’ve heard them often, seen them flying through the canopy a few times, but have yet to get a camera lens on them. This gives me hope!!

  2. I will call an Owl Lady from now on. Such gorgeous photos of a magnificent creature., Emily. Look at those eyes. I could just stare at it. But of course, I stare on one everyday. Sigh….. I wish am in the wild.

  3. Barred’s have awesome personalities! I have photographed many and have one special girlfriend who will come to visit as soon as I drive up! She still does after 6 years now!!

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