Common Black Hawk

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I was walking out to the bosque when I saw a large bird in the distance. I could not tell what it was backlit against the sky, but the white band on the tail was easy to see, which made me think it might be a Bald Eagle. However, when I enlarged to photos on the computer, I could see it was not a Bald Eagle. By the size, dark color and the two white bands on the tail, I thought it was a Harris’ Hawk with a snake. However, Susan Hunter pointed out it’s a Common Black Hawk.

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Snowy Egret

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Under dark, cloudy skies threatening a storm, a snowy egret was foraging in the clearwater ditch. It didn’t pay attention to me until I got close enough to get a clearer shot, then it flew. Even in the murky light from from the dark cloud cover, the egret is so white, that the camera could not get detail in the whiteness of the egret from above. After the egret flew, we walked back to the house. No sooner than we walked in the house the storm commenced with a downpour. There was a pinkish/orange glow from the sun trying to peek through the clouds on the horizon. I walked out onto the deck and could see a rainbow through the rain, but it was raining too hard to walk out and see the full extent of the rainbow.

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Three Out

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All three owlets to the south of us have been out of the nest since last Saturday. They were all huddled up on a high branch above the nest last night and early this morning. These three should be flying by next week.

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Owlet Update

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I think I get get out of this hole.

At first we thought that there was only one owlet in the cottonwood in the neighbor’s yard just south of us. Turns out there are three owlets again this year. One of the oldest owlets was trying to get out of the nest last night.

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@#&$! Can’t quite do it.
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Dang!
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You all didn’t see that. OK?
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Stretching its wings.
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The runt popped its head up when the other owl took a break from its attempt to get out of the nest.
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The third owl getting a wing in edgewise.
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There is something interesting in the branches above.
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Only one owl popped its head up this morning.

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Moving on north to Virginia. You can refresh your memory about who Virginia is at https://wp.me/p1yQyy-4dG. Another resident owler said she had seen a second owlet with Virginia, but we have not seen the second owlet. Virginia is older than the three owlets down south, and she has been getting out of the nest for a couple of weeks (she was out of the nest the next day after the photos I did of her on the 14th). This morning she and Mama owl were sitting on a branch outside the nest. Virginia is developing horns.

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Virginia is adorable. She looks small next to Mama owl, but when she’s by herself she looks big.

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A view from the back side of the tree.

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Now For The Rest Of The Story

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If you are old enough to remember Paul Harvey, you will know where the title comes from. While I was waiting for Virginia to come out on Sunday afternoon, I heard Daddy owl hooting in a cottonwood about 100 feet from the tree with the nest. Instead of the hoots we normally hear, that sound something like “whoooo whoo whoo whoooo” in the same volume, tone and intensity, he was doing three or four hoots cut short, followed by three longer more intense hoots — “wht wht wht whoooo whoo whoo”.

When I walked over to see what Daddy owl was up to, he was chewing on something, but I couldn’t see what it was. I walked around the tree trying to see if I could get in a position where I could see what he held in his claws, but I couldn’t see what he had because of how he was perched on the cottonwood. Finally I called out to him “Hey owl, what do you have?” He then proceeded to show me that he had a bird, and made the silliest faces in the process.

I also took a short video of him hooting and gnawing on the bird. I named it Great Horned Owl with Dinner. The video is posted after the last photo.  You can hear him hoot, and watch him gnaw on his dinner. I assume he shared his bird with Virginia and Mama Owl, but I can’t say for sure, since I couldn’t stay around long enough to see the rest of that story.

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