Critter Update

Daddy Owl silhouetted at dusk

Last night there was not much of a sunset, but daddy owl flew up on a tree well after sundown so we could see him in silhouette. He stayed on the tree until I was able to walk around where I could get him in profile in the afterglow. An Osprey flew overhead and then a beaver was out basking in the twilight on the east bank of the river.

Daddy Owl in profile at twilight

Osprey overhead

Beaver basking in the twilight

Beaver on the east bank grooming at twilight

Greetings From Little Owl

One the branch staring me down.

We haven’t seen the little owls for a couple of weeks. When the smoke descended upon us the owls seemed to say “¡Hasta la vista! Babies!” and disappeared. Over the past week, we had heard them eeping, but we couldn’t find them in the trees. Various people mentioned hearing the owlets and seeing them fly into the bosque, but sightings, where the owlets are perched on a branch eeping and watching people, had become scarce.

Last night when I was walking to 4th of July Point at sunset, I heard eeping, and I found this little owl on a branch behind the Tangle Heart Tree. Laurie walked up and we could hear the other owlet eeping deeper in the bosque south of the Tangle Heart Tree, but I couldn’t find it.

Taking a closer look at the pesky paparazzo.

Half-moon in the Tangle Heart Tree

The owlet flew back behind other branches.

¡Hola!

Thirty-Eight Years

We celebrated our 38th wedding anniversary today. We went for a walk in the bosque, Laurie barbequed ribs and we sat out on the deck and ate dinner while the owls serenaded us with their hooting back and forth in the bosque. After dinner, we walked out to see the owlets. They had flown about 100 yards south of the Tangle Heart Tree. They are starting to fly really well. The moon was popping in and out of the clouds, and the skies were dramatic. Click on the photos to see a larger view.

Non-Tubular Bells

John at Las Vegas Photo Blog posted a video of church bells ringing in Banff, Canada which reminded me that I had recorded the bells ringing while on the bell towers at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, France in 2018. I found the video and decided it was boring by itself because the bells at Notre Dame were very loud standing in the bell tower, and they didn’t have any variation other than a bunch of bells ringing at once. Therefore, I wrote a piece of music to go with the bells, and put together a rather strange music video called Non-Tubular Bells. I include photos from Notre Dame in 2018 before the fire, pictures of Paris taken from the bell towers, video of the American Flag at our neighbor’s house, video of our neighbor’s dogs playing in the Rio Grande and video of the Owlets flapping their wings and flying a little.

Owl Update

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Do I want to fly over to the bosque with Little Baby?

Big Baby Owl has been in a cottonwood tree between the irrigation ditch and the clearwater ditch for over a week now. Little Baby Owl flew over both ditches into a tree on the edge of the bosque next to Holly’s Tangle Heart Tree. I expected Big Baby to fly over to be with Little Baby last night, but she didn’t. She seems happy in the tree she’s in at the moment.

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Nah. I really like this tree.
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Little Baby Owl is on the tree on the left edge of the photo. He’s very difficult to see.
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Hey Big Baby! Are you going to fly over here?
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Are you talking to me?
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I’m certainly not talking to the stupid paparazzo on the ditch bank below.
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Oh! I don’t know. I really like this tree.
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Or you’re a chicken! He he he!
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Can you see my “mad dogs” you little runt?
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Talk to the paw!

Right after sundown, Mama Owl and Daddy Owl flew up into a tree just north of the owlets. They were perched like they were posing for portraits. Mama is behind Daddy.

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I went out at 6:00 am this morning to see if Big Baby Owl had flown over to the bosque with Little Baby Owl. I found Mama Owl perched next to Little Baby and Big Baby Owl nowhere to be found.

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Isn’t it a little early for you to be out Paparazzo?

Below is an aerial photo showing where the nest is and where the owls were last night. The owlets are still in the trees indicated on the aerial photo.

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The blockheads at Word Press have introduced a block editor. I was stupid enough to try it. After an hour of attempting to put the post together, I could not get it to come out right at all. I finally trashed it and started from scratch in the standard editor, which took only 15 minutes to complete. I was so disgusted I walked out and talked to Big Baby Owl who is still in her favorite tree before I came back and redid the post. Blocks are for desktop publishing not browsers. If the block editor becomes the default editor, I’ll consider leaving Word Press again.

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Big Baby Owl sympathizing as best she can over me having to deal with WP blockheads.

Challenges

There seems to be all kinds of challenges in the blogosphere, mostly photo challenges, and writing challenges. Here are a few challenges I recorded.

The first challenge was the song that started out as a drum track that Joel put together. He sent me the track and gave me the challenge to make a song out of it. I laid down a bass track, followed by a rhythm guitar track. I made up a vocal track on the spot, so I have not written down the lyrics, then I laid down the lead guitar track. One take for each track. I named the song  Joel’s Beat.

 

The second challenge was when I was finally able to get my car washed (car washes had been closed under the lockdown). I washed my car and what did I get? Dust and muddy kitty prints all over the lid.

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The third challenge was for Big Baby Owl who had flown over to another branch on the cottonwood tree, then decided to climb the trunk of the tree to get up where Mama Owl was perched high above her. Big Baby Owl climbed and climbed, flapped her wings over the more difficult parts, and finally got into a fork in the tree about 10 feet from Mama Owl. She looked up at Mama Owl and Mama Owl flew off. Big Baby Owl was devastated. She just stood in the fork of the tree with her head bowed (click on the photos for an enlarged slide show).

 

The fourth challenge was photographing black Irises that are bleached purple in our intense sunshine. The irises look almost black to the naked eye, but properly exposed photos show how purple black really is.

 

The fifth challenge was doing super wide-angle photos of Spunk and living to write about it and post the photos.

 

Dinnertime

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Owlet out of the nest in the morning

The owlets are starting to get out of the nest. Last night I was checked on the owls well after sunset. Daddy Owl was hooting way up at the top of a cottonwood above the owlets. Soon Mama Owl brought home the bacon in what looked like a gopher. She perched with Daddy Owl for a few minutes before she flew down and gave the owlets the gopher for dinner. The three-minute video below is edited down to two minutes forty-five seconds of owl video from Daddy Owl hooting to Big Baby Owl hopping back into the nest with dinner followed by 15 seconds of credits.

Being well past sunset, I could only see outlines of the owls with my bare eyes. I increased the exposure on the video by two stops which let me at least see when the edges of things looked sharp when I focused on the owls. I had to focus manually and hope for the best. Daddy and Mama Owl were backlit, so the increased exposure was able to get their details pretty well. Once Mama Owl flew down to the owlets, the background became dark. I didn’t increase the exposure further, because the picture probably would have become very pixilated in the darkness. As it is I got the video pretty well focused and you can see some details in the owlets in full-screen.

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Owlet out of the nest after sunset.