Nikon D750, Sigma 50-500mm / f4.5-6.3 APO DG HSM, tripod, gimbal head

My website and blog has always been about sharing knowledge with other people that own a camera and try to get the best out of it. Sharing wildlife encounters and the locations where to find wildlife is part of it. Other photographers do the same and so we all benefit from each other one way or the other.

Last night I received an email from my photography friend Linda, telling me that the little owlet had left the nest at Mud Lake down at the Mississippi River. After a young Great Horned Owl leaves the nest they usually stick still around for a while. During this period of so called “branch hopping” they are still fed by the parents but it is not necessarily the same tree where the nest is located. And here starts the problem for the avid birder or photographer. The fresh leaves on the trees come out at the moment and every day it becomes a little more difficult to find the tree and the branch where the young owl spends the day.

My neck got already soar after wandering around and scanning every tree near the nest with my eyes for 45 minutes. Almost ready to give up for today I finally discovered the owl in a tree near the nest I had looked at several times before. They really blend in well. For the next 50 minutes I had an unobstructed view to a subject that turned the head once in a while and opened and closed its eyes for the most. Other than that, it was all about watching the light of the setting sun and playing with every possible setting on my new Nikon D750.

It always amazes me how fast they grow. I discovered the female Great Horned Owl sitting on the nest February 15th, saw the young owl March 16th for the first time, and now it has left the nest already. As I wrote here in the blog before, this happened for the third year in a row, but it is, at least for me, one of the most fascinating wildlife stories that unfolds here in the Mississippi Valley. Special thanks to Linda for sharing the information with me!