“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.
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.
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.
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.
I found the owls in the same spot they were last year. The park is not too far from work so I stopped by one night before dark. Found one of the adults on a branch just above the nest. “My, what big feet you have!”
Found a baby sitting on the nest. A little fluff ball.
I looked for eagles along the utility towers across the bay where they usually hang out. I couldn’t find any mixed in with all of the cormorants.
The eagles are not nesting in the middle of the horse farm this year. There was a lot of new construction going on nearby so I was afraid they wouldn’t come back this year. I found them nearby in a utility tower. I think they took over an osprey nest high up in the tower.
I stopped by the park not to far from my house on the way home from Chesnut Park. I hadn’t been in a while but was wondering if the owls were nesting again this year. It was too early for babies but I did see an adult sleeping in the tree. This was a good sign.
I would nest here too if I was a bird. The old trees are beautiful.
Nearby in the utility tower are the brown boobies. It’s always been rare to see them here but in the last year, a handful of them have been living in the area. Most days they can be seen on the tower. These were taken with my 300mm lens and extender and I cropped these up so they are pretty far out. You can tell the boobies by the white stomachs vs. the many cormorants or anhingas on the tower.