For the past few years, we’ve seen what I thought were burrowing owls, but I’m finding are Western Screech Owls, at night by our home, but never during the day.Today, while photographing a dove nest in a cholla, I felt like I was being watched and then heard soft owl sounds. I turned and saw bright yellow eyes staring at me through an Ironwood tree behind me. Walking just a few steps to one side, I was able to find an opening in the branches to photograph one little guy through. We’ve seen four, and three of them made themselves known while I stood there.
A few more steps to the side…barely breathing…I tried to see the second one from where I could hear him. One more soft chortle and I saw him through another set of branches, in the shade. I made a few images, then backed away and and watched them settle back into the root structure at the base of the tree. I lost track of time as I quietly knelt in the shade of a nearby tree and watched and listened to these magical little beings.
This is the dove nest I was photographing when I heard the owls. The owls were only about ten feet behind me, deep in an Ironwood tree…if I hadn’t been at this nest, I would have not known they were there.Isn’t this a really well made, and safely placed, dove nest? Taking lessons from the Cactus Wrens, it seems. Mama Dove was eating Saguaro fruit just a few feet above and to the side of me. Didn’t seem bothered at all, which pleased me. I don’t like to disturb any of the critters I photograph.
Here is the dove who was eating Saguaro fruit. When I knelt in the shade to watch the owls, I heard a flutter to my left and this Mama settled back into her nest no more than six feet from me. Keeping an eye on me, to be sure, but confident enough to return to her nest and rest.
Between her and the owls today, I got some lovely, peaceful moments.