At the end of February I was able to stop by the owl nest and see the baby almost grown up. He was still pretty fuzzy but was looking more like an adult.
One of the parents was always close by.
Then in mid-March I stopped by again and the baby was looking all grown up. Almost as big as his parents. He was very curious, always looking around at the sounds of the birds and squirrels going by.
The morning was so nice that I hung around the park watching the fishing boats go by. This one was pulling up bait fish and getting followed by the pelicans looking for a handout.
The old trees in the park near the nest have a lot of personality.
It was the beginning of a great weekend.
Some shots of the parent high up in the tree.
Mom was sitting low in the nest.
In late February I stopped by a park nearby to see if any baby owls were born. I could see the mom in the nest and I had heard there was at least one baby but I couldn’t see anything. Finally, right before leaving, the baby popped it’s head up for a few minutes. Maybe a week old at this point.
I stopped by the nest for a quick peak a few days later and the baby was sitting up higher in the nest and looked much older at this point. For the last several years this couple has had 2 babies. Not sure why this is an only child this year.
Nearby this squirrel was hiding in a hole in a tree. I wonder if he’s building a nest in there.
One of the parents keeping an eye on the kids.
“Mom, I’m hungry!”
“Big brother, you better come down from there. Mom’s here with breakfast.”
“Lady, are you going to watch us eat?”
“I guess he’s not coming down so we’ll eat without him.”
The older baby had climbed to the very top of the tree and was sleeping in the moss so the youngest was all alone on the nest. Mom came down for a while and fed it. Not sure what they were eating, rabbit or squirrel?
“Peek A Boo” from the other side of the tree.
They grow up so fast. These were taken in late March, the last time I saw the babies on the nest. Not long after this the oldest was already moving to other trees. Hopefully we’ll see new babies next winter.
Both parents were close to the nest. Mom out in the open in the top picture. Dad was trying to hide in the moss while napping.
Mom eventually flew down to the nest. She turned her back when she was feeding the little ones so I don’t have a shot of that. After a few minutes she left again, flying to a branch nearby.
The little ones sat quietly for while, watching people walk by.
Someone found a pellet right underneath where the Dad was sleeping. We were trying to figure out what he had eaten.
I ran into some friends who were there walking their dog. They stopped to chat for a while but the dog was ready to go. He wanted to be out running in the park, not sitting under a tree while his owners were talking.
The view of north Tampa bay from the park. The owl’s nest sits in a big oak tree in the middle of a parking lot. It’s a main thoroughfare for joggers and walkers so the area is very busy.
One of the great horned owl parents keeping an eye on the nest.
The baby great horned owls are very cute at this age. They were very curious and would bob their heads when a mockingbird or osprey flew by. They spent a long time looking around and then finally facing Mom in the other tree. They eventually dozed off.
Mom didn’t move all morning.
These were all taken in mid-February with my zoom lens and extremely cropped.
Walking down the trail, heading for the owl’s nest, I spotted a kestrel. Of course I had to stop and take a picture of it. Usually they are so skittish but this one didn’t move.
I made it out to the owl’s nest just in time to catch Mom feeding one of the babies. There were 2 babies, one was hiding on the other side of Mom. Baby great horned owls are not cute until their face catches up with their beaks. The baby seemed to be enjoying his breakfast. Mom was eating some of it as well, including that rabbit ear in the last picture above. Yuk right? But an owl’s gotta eat.
Right in the middle of breakfast, a mockingbird flew in and was brave enough to pretend he was going to steal a bite. Mom chased him off with just a look.
Mom tucked away what was left for breakfast, to be finished at a later time.
She had already fed the younger one before I got there so after feeding the older one they all sat up looking content.
Little birds along the shore at Fort Desoto Park.
Weird sea slugs that were on the sand at low tide. The muck was full of these.
The tide would be coming in soon to wash this guy back into the water.
A very large raft of ducks far out in the water near the Sunshine Skyway bridge. I think these were mostly ring neck ducks.
Scenes from the beach.
In early January I was walking the trails and noticed an owl sitting in an old osprey nest.
Not a bad way to be stuck in traffic. On my way home I got stuck on the bridge for a few minutes while the bridge was up waiting for some tall boats to pass underneath.
I’m thinking this is a pine warbler. Fairly common but confusing. Looks like a lot of other female yellow birds.
A very common but pretty white-eyed vireo.
I think this is an immature pine warbler in the 2 above.
Blue headed vireos are becoming common this time of year.
This little chickadee was being too cute. He came down close to the boardwalk looking to see if I had a handout. All of the above were taken at Chesnut Park on a Saturday morning in early January. Someone had left seed on the boardwalk before I had gotten there and the birds were very active.
On the way home I stopped by another park to see if the owls were nesting again this year. She was up in the nest still on eggs, taking a nap. This couple gets a little later start than most owls in the area.
Linking to My Corner of the World.
After walking around the Largo Botanical Gardens I headed next door to Heritage Village. The park has old historic homes as well as come cool vintage cars. They were having their fall festival in late October so everyone was out walking around.
Interesting wood carvings of birds.
The permanently injured birds from close by George C. McGough Nature Park were at the festival so everyone could see these guys up close and learn about the different birds of prey in their neighborhoods. The hawk in the above pictures was missing an eye.
The little screech owls were everyone’s favorite. It’s rare for most people to see them out in the wild.
A great horned owl up close.
Nothing at Chesnut Park but gators so I headed over to another park to see if the baby owl was awake.
The parent was easy to find. Just look for the big group of photographers pointing their cameras up at her. Since the baby was sleeping when I first got to the park, everyone was keeping an eye on her.
A little while later, a head pops up. The baby great horned owl was awake, barely.
She was staring up at Mom for a while but I don’t think Mom was ready to feed her so after a few minutes the baby went back to sleep.
Mom seemed to be a little sleepy still as well.
Linking to Wednesday Around The World.