I think Saturday night was the best owl hunt we've been on - even though we still didn't get pictures.
We got to the property right before dark and waited. We waited for almost an hour and finally I told the Island King that it didn't look like the owl was going to show up anytime soon and that we should probably go get some Christmas shopping done and then go home. I got about half way through the sentence and we heard him. He was in the same tree we heard him in the last time we were here.
After our first night we learned to be ready immediately so we grabbed our stuff and headed for the tree we thought he was in.
Sure enough, he was in the same tree and hooting pretty loud. We shined our light on him for a minute and then out of the corner of my eye I saw a dark shape soar overhead and away. It happened really fast but I saw him! Technically, I still haven't really seen him because tonight he was just a bird shaped shadow that was gone in a flash. But it was him, and I saw him, so that counts for something LOL
A minute later we heard him hooting from far off in the direction I saw him go. Yep, that was definitely him I saw.
I was pretty excited but bummed that he'd flown away. Ok, well that should do it for tonight. We heard him and I saw him flying off so it wasn't a wasted trip. And we've got Christmas shopping to do so we head for the truck, ready to call it a night.
Halfway back to the truck we heard him again and he was close. He's come back! We listen for a minute and decide that he's in the tree on the other side of the woods that he was in the very first night we heard him. And we're off. We're trying to be really quiet (which is funny since an owl's entire head is designed to help it hear better) and we're hurrying through the woods as fast as we can.
Both trees that we've heard him in are large pines on the edge of a cleared area, with a wooded area in between.
We were standing on the edge of the clearing and we heard 2 different hoots. The same one we've been hearing and then a second one that was 3 quick hoots in a row, almost like a coo, and not as deep as the first.
It's a male and a female together! We were so excited about the possibility of seeing both of them together. I've read that winter is mating season for great horned owls and that the male and female will hoot at each other through the night.
And then the next hoot we hear is back over at the other tree. We must be disturbing them because if we walked to one tree, they'd stay there a minute and then fly to the other tree. We did that a few times, trying to be quiet and not using the light at all but of course they knew we were there and would fly back to the opposite tree.
It didn't take much of that for us to decide to leave them alone. We didn't seem to bother the male before, but tonight, with the female there, he really didn't want us around.
So we left.
I had my video camera running and would have gotten some good audio of them both hooting but the wind was blowing 15mph out of the east and all you can hear on the video is the wind roaring.
We did get to enjoy an incredible moon.
I have a lot going on for the next few days but hopefully we can get back out there soon. I really want to see this owl!