Swooping In

It was a day of heavy rain a couple of weeks ago. Thoughts went into my head that perhaps the rain had brought some birds down and I could find them easier. As the storm was easing and passing through, I headed out to Patuxent Research Refuge – North Tract to see what I could find.

Driving through a tree canopy on the entrance road, a huge bird swooped in and landed just along the road in a small puddle. Whatever could it be? I think it’s an owl. But what kind of owl could it be? Is it a Short-Eared Owl? Is it a Barred Owl?

It was so close to the car on the passenger side, I couldn’t see it so backing up the car I watched the owl swoop up and land into a tree. I had backed up enough that I could get out and open up the back mostly unseen by the owl.

With my camera set up, I walked out and there he was. Sitting in a tree looking drenched from the rain.


Naturally, the owl knew of my presence far faster that I wanted to. But he didn’t seem too disturbed. Taking a few captures, the owl then flew to a better perch. It’s as if it knew it was time to pose for the paparazzi.



Take a few shots…get a little closer. Take a few more shots…get a little closer. He just calmly sat there for about ten minutes and I was able to photograph him to my heart’s content. In fact, I got about 20 feet away with my 500mm lens and decided it was close enough. Not wanting to disturb the owl too much, I turned and left him to dry off after the rain.


He quietly said goodbye to my retreating steps.

19 thoughts on “Swooping In

  1. Great photos. I’ve been trying to get photos of the Barred Owls at Watkins Park. I’ve heard them often, seen them flying through the canopy a few times, but have yet to get a camera lens on them. This gives me hope!!

  2. I will call an Owl Lady from now on. Such gorgeous photos of a magnificent creature., Emily. Look at those eyes. I could just stare at it. But of course, I stare on one everyday. Sigh….. I wish am in the wild.

  3. Barred’s have awesome personalities! I have photographed many and have one special girlfriend who will come to visit as soon as I drive up! She still does after 6 years now!!

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