This Week at the Lake – 45/52

One of my favorite weeks of this entire project! I have so many photos to share!

We got some snow in middle Tennessee again this week. Sunday night/Monday morning we had several inches of snow fall. The roads were terrible first thing in the morning but I couldn’t stand to see all the snow falling out the window – I had to go! It took me almost an hour and a half to get to Radnor Lake that morning (usually would take 45 minutes), but it was worth every second. I finally made it and headed out down the lake trail. Unlike the snow pictures from Week 41, there was no sun. The skies were dark and it was still snowing off and on. I first headed to the edge of the lake to get a snowy lake scene:

Then headed back to the trail. I told myself I was going to get more shots of snowy land and lakescapes this time since I didn’t get any last time. Right after crossing the dam, I got this shot:

As soon as I heard there might be snow, I new I wanted to get a shot of an owl in the snow. I’ve gotten shots of the owls at Radnor Lake in all the other seasons, now I needed winter so I was really hoping to see one this morning. Well, it didn’t take long. Right after I took the shot above, I saw a barred owl sitting on a tree limb! I saw he was getting ready to fly, so I got the camera set for some fast shots thinking that may be my only chance! Little did I know that he would put on quite a show for me for the next 60 minutes!
Here he is leaving his original perch:

He quickly landed on another tree branch. I could tell right away that he was actively hunting! I have never seen an owl so active. He flew from branch to branch scanning the ground all around. Then he saw something:

This attempt resulted in no food, but he didn’t give up! Off he goes to find another perch:

This time he dives pretty close to the walking path but he was behind some heavy brush. I actually crouched down and crawled down the path and peeked around a tree looking for a better view. As soon as I peeked around the tree, I saw him toss back and swallow an entire mouse. By the time I raised the camera, the mouse was gone and he turned to look at me:

Back up to a tree:

He then went to a tree that was a little far for my 200mm (remember, at Radnor Lake you are not allowed to leave the path). I was so excited about the shot I just got that I was about to just leave and let him be. I also figured that, since he had caught a mouse, he would find a good resting spot and settle down. I was wrong! As I got up to leave, he flew to another tree that was right on the path and was still looking around for more to eat:

He dives again but comes up empty again. Head to a new spot:

Again he dives. This time in clear view of me. As soon as he dives, I drop straight to the ground to get a ground level shot:

You can see how he flattened out his wings on the ground to try to trap the mouse. It worked, he headed up to a tree with a large mouse in his mouth:
From there I watched him swallow the entire mouse again.

Then he flies right to a tree that I’m standing under!

He dives from that spot and is now on the ground probably only six feet from me! He’s keeping an eye on me this time so I can’t drop to the ground because I’m afraid it will scare him off. So I grabbed these shots from a standing position:
(For you photographers, this was only at 110mm and not cropped – to give you an idea of how close he was)

He ate another large mouse and headed up to a tree. By then, I had been there for an hour and had over 150 photos. I finally decided to head on.

I went ahead and took the lake trail and Otter Creek Rd all the way back around. Grabbing these shots along the way:

All of these shots were from Monday morning. I was able to go again Wednesday morning, and sure enough, in almost the same spot:

But this time it was much earlier in the day. I had to use a tripod to get this shot, so there would be no chasing him around again!

And that’s it for the week!

Thanks for looking!

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All of the “This Week at the Lake” photos are available for purchase as fine art prints and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the Friends of Radnor Lake! Send me an email for more info (m_macgregor@comcast.net)

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3 responses

  1. Holy Cow Malcolm those are just spectacular. The owl series is one of the best I have ever seen. It was well worth the extra drive time.

    January 15, 2011 at 8:36 am

  2. Wow!!! What an experience! And your photos captured it all so well! Gorgeous shots! You’re going to have to sell a coffee table book of all these wonderful Radnor shots.

    January 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm

  3. Love the owl shots. especially fond of that texture one too!

    January 16, 2011 at 2:45 pm

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