My wife and I once had a chow-like dog who seemed to appreciate being photographed. Her name was Bridget and she would pose in front of landmarks (Notre Dame, Eiffel Tower, The Seine, Westminster, Telegraph Hill in London, Nunhead Cemetery, Golden Gate Bridge). Now I am beginning to think Jackson County’s Great Gray Owls appreciate being appreciated. The species is notorious for being aloof of human presence but I think they have come to like being a “wow.” Just the opposite of Belted Kingfishers who are always camera-shy. Here’s Mel Clements’ description of his owl day in the Cascades east of Ashland:
“I almost didn’t make the trip up the hill this morning. Looking out from the bedroom window, I saw darkness, low clouds covering the tops of the hill, and haze from the fires. I decided to go anyway.
“On November 29, 2015 (6:55 a.m.) I saw a Great Gray Owl near Hooper Springs. It flew to the top of a tall telephone pole and was only a dark profile in the dark morning light. Since then I’ve watched that large meadow but without success. Today it paid off. Sitting on a listening post on the left side and above the roadway was a large Great Gray Owl. It didn’t seem to mind my vehicle’s presence today. I was able to snap a few photos of the GGO in the poor light but had to spend most of my time trying to correct for the exposure – due to the light smoke haze, some very light fog and the heavy cloud cover. The GGO finally relocated into a large tree and I was unable to see it anymore due to the darkness.
“Arriving later at 2 Pines 45 minutes later, I caught a brief glimpse of an unidentified hawk as it cut across the meadow to the tree line on the east side of the meadow. A few steps later the Great Gray Owl flew into the nearest tree to me in the meadow and began surveying the area for breakfast. I was able to quietly photograph and watch this GGO until it flew into the south tree line.
“A very good day despite the poor weather and lighting.
“#1- Hooper Springs GGO
“#2- 2 – Pines GGO