Owlets finally make an appearance
This isn't far from the truth, however, the light shined toward the vacant lot before the owls took residence and it was on often as they were selecting their nest site. Every time kids play in the backyard at or after dark. Our swing set sits directly below the box and the pool is within 20'. Such is the nature of a small backyard, and fortunately for me these suburban owls are extremely tolerant of all our activities, including mowing, weed-eating, screaming children, and yes even the light that sometimes floods the area. I will say this, the images give the impression that there was a lot more light than there actually was though. This is really more of an ambient light in reality, but the scope and camera picked up a lot more in these images. These images were shot at a full 1 second exposure at ISO 800, with the exposure compensation run up to +2.
We now return to the story... after I turned on the light, I walked out and strained my eyes toward the darkness of the box and could see a small gray oval up there. I ran back into the house and grabbed the scope for a better view of our 1st baby sighting for me, my family, and the visiting neighbors. As we watched the youngster (who I've affectionately named "Porky") at the box mouth, I could still here the chattering from inside the box. As we watched, one of the adults swung in with a large Palmetto Bug and fed it to Porky. The adult then lit on the top rail of the swing set a mere 8' away from us. Within moments, the adult flew straight up and briefly lit on the trunk of the dead snag about 20' above owl box, and swung back down to a perch just outside the box with yet another Palmetto Bug (for the uninitiated in the way of Florida's sub-tropical bugs) you might call this a big fat cockroach!
While others were enjoying the show, I decided to go get my camera and adapter to try my hand at night digiscoping, despite a complete lack of success with this in the past.
Mama Owl delivers the goods, 7 June '07
Of course in this neighborhood we try to stress quality parenting, so when "Mama" owl, brought a delicious looking Tree-frog, she shot past Porky and Junior and dropped to the floor of the box. Excited chittering sounds soon emanated from the box, letting me know there must be at least 3 owlets in there and perhaps more. After a while, Junior dropped down to join the frog feast, but Porky (stubborn as ever) wouldn't surrender the primo spot (not even for succulent frog legs).
Mama flew down to a perch just 4' below the box and all was quiet for a moment. The chicks apparently satiated for the moment, had stopped bickering, while mama contently perched on her favorite snag with the signs of a successful kill and good parenting still evident on her bill. I took one parting shot, VERY appreciative of the opportunity to witness this spectacle of nature, then retired to the house and switched the light off for the night to allow the family to continue their nightly routine undisturbed.