Ray HennessyComment

A Lone Burrowing Owl

Ray HennessyComment
A Lone Burrowing Owl

During a visit to Cape Coral Florida in February of 2015 I went to one of the locations that I had photographed the owls in previous years but the burrow appeared to be empty. I knew of another field in Cape Coral Florida that had over 10 marked nest so I went there next with the assumption that at least one of them would be occupied. After checking out four burrows the next one I looked at had had a pair of eyes peeking out at me. It was around 5pm so I had the last hour of the day to photograph this owl. I set up my gear and sat down next to the burrow and waited.

It took about 30 minutes or so for the owl to really start showing itself at which point the setting sunlight was becoming very nice. When my father and I previously photographed the burrowing owls we had an overcast day so I was thrilled to have some nice sunlight to work with on this visit.

Around 6pm the sun started to dip below the horizon and the warm sunny glow started changing into a soft and cool blue light. At this point the friendly owl began to get a little sleepy and his eyes would occasionally close, then slowly open and it would repeat the process. It was nice to think the bird was comfortable enough with me sitting there to close its eyes.

About 30 minutes after the sun had set the little Burrowing Owl started getting more active. Its eyes became larger to see in the darkening evening and it started looking around a lot more. I noticed at one point I could see car headlights driving through the background about 500 feet behind the bird. I rotated my camera vertically so I could also see a little of the dusk sky and tried to time the photo so I could see the headlights in the frame. The last photo in this story is one of my favorites from that attempt. It almost looks like a moon in the photo.

After a little more playing around with car lights the owl moved up onto one of its perches and began to get very vocal. It was moving its head quite rapidly looking all around and then it flew down to the ground and appeared to start hunting and looking for food. I ended up spending almost 2 hours sitting on the ground with this single Burrowing Owl and it was such a wonderful experience to have. If you ever get a chance to visit the Burrowing Owls of Cape Coral Florida I highly suggest it.

Nature photography has become a very passionate hobby of mine and whenever I get a chance I love to get outside and enjoy being outdoors. I am also the co-owner of KGM Expressions, a wedding and portrait photography business, with my wife Kim. This is how we make our living and I love that we get to do that together.