When I moved to my new apartment in December I was treated to one of the best views of a Barred Owl I'd ever seen just a few hundred metres from my door. Excited to have my own local owl to observe throughout the year I hiked the woods almost daily, camera in hand, hoping to get some photo opportunities. I also walked through the woods at night, almost daily, for the whole of January listening out for the plaintive "Who cooks for you" hooting of the Barred Owl. Owls tend to nest much earlier than other birds so January/February can be a great time to hear them vocalising. After a month of dedicated scouring of my local patch I was forced to conclude that maybe my Barred Owl sighting was a fluke, and the bird was not resident here but just passing through or exploring. I'd also heard no sign of any other owls, Great Horned, Eastern Screech or Northern Saw-whet. Disappointing, but no matter, I'd just have to work a little harder if I wanted to see these birds, no big deal.
Partly in recognition of this situation and partly inspired by the sight of a magnificent sunset, I decided to removed my telephoto lens (semi-permanently attached in the hope of capturing any serendipitous wildlife shots), attach my stock 18-50mm lens and go out and take some shots of the wintery landscape. It had been so long since I swapped out the lenses that at first I couldn't even find the other lens. By the time I had, the sunset was well and truly over, but I decided to head out anyway and see if I could capture anything in the fading light of dusk. A hint of sunset still lingered on the edge of the horizon long enough to capture an couple of shots.
Slinging my camera over my shoulder I headed out on my regular path through the woods, headed for a coffee shop to work for a while. I can't have been walking for more than a couple of minutes when a bulky silhouette seen in the corner of my eye, caught my attention. Would you bloody believe it, a Barred Owl, on the one day I don't have my zoom lens.
Any day that includes an owl is a good day