Great Horned Owl

Back when I lived in Wilmington, NC, one of the places I used to love to go birding was Carolina Beach State Park. Funny thing was, I usually didn’t have a lot of luck with the birds there. But I loved walking in the forests and pine savannas there anyway, and when I did get lucky with the birds, I got really lucky. It was at CBSP that I got my first and/or best shots of Painted Buntings, Hermit Thrushes, Pileated Woodpeckers, Pine Warblers, and probably half a dozen other species. 

On this day in 2016, at about 10:30 in the morning, I was just arriving with my partner near one of the parking lots when we saw some strange, cool, red mammal looking thing dart off into the brush. We parked the car and went looking for whatever it was, but never did find it. We were about to give up and go look at Venus Flytraps when, from behind us, we got buzzed low, fast, and hard by a large bird that promptly flew up into a tangle of branches high in a Long Leaf Pine. It gave us quite a start, and my first thought was a Red-tailed Hawk, or maybe a Red-shouldered. While both of those are fairly common in the area, it was perched, and I thought I might get a nice shot.

I put the long lens on the bird, and it was on that day that I finally got the Great Horned Owl (Bubo virginianus) off The Goddamnit List. I never posted the shot to the blog, for whatever reason, but I saw it this morning on Facebook’s “On This Day” feature, and thought I should share it here. It’s a shot of which I’m pretty proud.