Today I went over to Lake St. Clair Metropark to see the much-talked-about Great Horned Owls and their two owlets. When I made my first pass by the nest bucket, the mom was sitting on the nest facing away from the trail. So I went around the other trails and came back an hour or so later to see this:>>>>>>
Isn’t she gorgeous? The father was sitting in a tree further back in the woods where I couldn’t get a photo. One of the babies popped its head up for a quick peek too…see it in the second photo? I’m betting he/she is the most adorable fuzzy thing you’ve seen today. These babies hatched sometime around March 20, and should start exploring on nearby tree branches after 6-7 weeks (according to this page on The Owl Pages site). A few weeks after that they’ll be weaned and will leave the nest. I hope I can get back over there to see them begin to come out into the world. What an awesome thing to be able to watch!
I also saw a tiny little Eastern Screech Owl in a nesting box nearby. After seeing the Great Horned Owl, the Screech Owl looks so little. Well, actually, it is little — only about 8″ tall, compared with 22″ for the big guys.
Aside from these cool birds of prey, the rest of the birds I saw in the park were the same ones we see here at home, although there were about a gazillion Red-winged Blackbirds near the nature center, actively calling to each other and flitting about. I have to say it reminded me of that Hitchcock movie, “The Birds.” But not in a scary way. I absolutely LOVE these birds. I saw a bunny hopping through the meadow, and an Eastern Painted Turtle sunning on a platform in the pond. Oh, and I almost forgot the Winter Wren I spotted hopping around in the leaf litter near a big fallen tree. That was a real treat too. No picture though, he was too fast.
Let’s see, what else, what else? Oh, on my way home I swung by to see the Ospreys near Stony Creek Metropark. They’re nesting on top of a cell tower right beside a shooting range, can you believe that? I’m always amazed at how birds don’t seem to mind the frequent sound of gunfire in the park area. It bothers the heck out of me! Anyway, here’s a poorly-focused pic of both the male and female on the nest:
This turned out to be a great day for seeing birds of prey!