It's about diving. And cats.

Me diving

Saturday, May 30, 2015


This post is a little off topic, since it's not related to diving or cats, but I think pictures of any cute animals are fair game for the blog :)  On Saturday afternoon, we went to this spot in the middle of nowhere (sorry, my California geographical knowledge pretty much includes places reasonably close to the coast and all else is "middle of nowhere") where there were some nesting owls.  I had work obligations in the morning, so an afternoon jaunt to the owls was perfect.  Unfortunately, Rob had left all of the requisite camera gear in Pacific Grove the previous weekend, so we took a very long roundabout path to get to the middle of nowhere (which was somewhere near 5, a bit north of the Monterey area).  We finally made it there around 4, and it was still very hot, in the 90s.  It kind of reminded me of Mexico because a) we were in the middle of nowhere, b) there was a lot of dust, c) it was really hot.  But we didn't find any caves to dive in.

Anyhoo, we had heard about the nesting owls from Jim, and apparently Clinton had been there earlier in the day, though we missed each other.  We had no trouble finding the trees with owls in them, and spent a few hours watching and photographing them.  Rob had a little remote flash thingy (which probably has a more technically correct name), which I was in a few cases enlisted to hold, so he could position it further than his arm could reach.  So I get a credit as "lighting assistant" on some of these ;)

There were a couple of baby owls, which were a little harder to find.  Luckily there was another guy there who pointed us to the general area of one of the nests.  We managed to see a little fuzzy tuft of fur occasionally peeking out of the nest, but not much more than that at first.  We waited for a while, looked from all different angels, and I almost lost an eye crawling through the brush to try to get a better angle.  Eventually we gave up and headed back to the more cooperative adults for a bit.  The adult owls seemed completely not bothered by us... they were super close, close enough that I didn't need binoculars (and couldn't even have used them if I wanted to).  They were all within 10 feet of us, and some were even on really low branches, at like waist to shoulder height.

Eventually I went back to the area where the nest was, to see if I could spy the baby.  By then, he was completely out of the nest, in a pretty photographable spot.  Still about 10 feet off the ground, almost directly above where you could see him from, but no longer buried in tree branches.  So I went back and retrieved Rob, who photographed the baby for a while.  We eventually found another baby, but he was so well hidden that it was more like a fluffy white-ish ball in a tangle of branches.  Definitely not photogenic, and hard to even see when you knew exactly where to look.

After a few hours of shooting, when it started getting near dusk, the owls got a LOT more active, flapping their wings, and flying from tree to tree.  They also got to be slightly less cooperative subjects, so we eventually headed out.  If I didn't already think this place seemed a lot like Mexico, I managed to step on an ant hill and get attacked by biting ants all over one of my feet.  Eek!

There were some interesting subjects other than the owls hanging nearby, including some pretty birds, though I have no idea what they were :)  There were also a lot of cute little bunnies around, or as Rob would call them, tasty owl snacks.

No comments: