So the last few weekends and over the Holidays I have been trying to find a Northern Pygmy Owl. I have gone out probably five times but no luck. It was getting frustrating because I know they are around, I know others have found them, but every weekend it rained and when the sun did come out I had to work.
So this weekend I went out on Sunday, Saturday was pouring rain. I left super early and started on my way only to remember I needed gas. So I turned around to head in the opposite direction and the nearest gas station. It worked out though since only a few minutes later I saw a large coyote run across the road. So I pulled over grabbed the camera (yay for having it with me for once) and snapped a few pictures. He must have been wondering what I was up to because he kept turning to give me looks. Once he was off in the field I continued to the gas station. Filled up and headed back out towards the owls. I was running late at this point which I wasn’t to happy about.
When I got up into the woods I met up with some other photographers and could see everyone crowded around a bush taking photos. An OWL! I got up where it was, put down my tripod, looked up and it was gone. I didn’t get even a single photo. But now I knew they do exist and in this location.
We waited about an hour for the owl to come back but it didn’t so we headed off to try a different spot. Along the way I twisted my ankle, again. The knot had been slowly shrinking but now it’s back and sore again, although not as sore as when I first twisted it. We waited for the owl for another hour and a half when we started thinking lunch sounded pretty good. Before we left to find food one of the guys needed to relieve himself, so we turned around to give him some privacy, I was eating an orange while the other guys chatted. It was then that I noticed something in a tree back the way we came and pointed it out. “No that’s not it”, “that was there the entire time”, “we walked past that on the way in and it was nothing”, where the responses I heard. Then one guy told me to “check your camera girl”, so I did and guess what? It was the owl. After that last comment I felt a little bit of ha! in your face attitude but it was overshadowed by the excitement of finally getting to see a pygmy owl and take photos!
We got lots of viewing time with the owl. It stayed close, pooped, puked up pellets, and even landed fairly close to me. It is tiny though and even with my 400mm lens I had to crop my photos in quite a bit. This owl is softball / pop can size. A tiny ball of fluff sitting in a tree. It’s funny though when in a group of photographers the guys with the biggest lenses are the ones who push their way in front of everyone else. I don’t push and I don’t get to close. It’s not worth it to me. But spending hours in one spot waiting for an owl is.