Thursday, April 30, 2020

Barn Owl and Coyote howl on morning prowl

About two years ago we started taking our morning walks about an hour before sunrise. We were always out "early," meaning after the sky began brightening up. Since I like photographing the setting Full Moon, we occasionally got out when it was very dark. After we became full-time (summer) Florida residents it became a habit. 

During the summer we escaped the heat of the sun and came to enjoy trekking out with flashlights and listening to the sounds of the night. We heard the calls of Eastern Screech-Owls and experienced the pre-dawn songbird chorus.

On April 8 I heard the eerie scream of a Barn Owl. It was high in a Royal Palm next to the gravel road which leads into the wetlands.  It was 6:20 AM, about 45 minutes before sunrise.  I could only see it using my flashlight. It was so dark that my camera would not click, even though I manually cranked the ISO up to 16,000. 

I had to hold my flashlight beam on the owl to permit the camera to focus, and the photos turned out to be very soft, with "red eye" which I corrected during processing:

Barn Owl 02-20200408

Barn Owl 03-20200408

Years ago, when I first heard heard its unfamiliar scream I thought it was a mammal, perhaps a Bobcat. This time, the Barn Owl called unexpectedly while I was recording the song of a Chuck-wills-widow. 

AUDIO FILE-- Chuck-wills-widow and Barn Owl

This was my tenth, but by far the best local sighting of (or hearing) a Barn Owl since first discovering one in 2015. I found a wing feather in 2018 in the same general location:

Barn Owl wing feather 20181009

The owl first called from on or very near the top of the trunk of this dead Royal Palm. It could be a nesting or resting place, so I am checking it carefully:

Royal Palm dead top 20200410

On March 25 I heard several Coyotes barking and wailing along the Big Levee Trail. By the time I reached the spot they had departed, but a treed Raccoon may have been their intended prey:

Raccoon 01-20200325

Raccoon 02-20200325

Nearby Chapel Trail Nature Preserve has since closed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but my last visit there started with a peaceful stroll along the boardwalk, which starts out through a wooded area:

Chapel Trail boardwalk 01-20200314

Among the birds and butterflies at Chapel Trail, a Blue-headed Vireo was a cooperative subject:

Blue-headed Vireo 02-20200314

A Black-and-White Warbler foraged along the trunks and larger branches:

Black-and-White Warbler 2-20200314

Cattle Egrets walked along with a Longhorn cow and bull in the adjacent pasture:

Cattle Egrets with cow and bull 20200314

A Prairie Warbler flitted high up in the canopy:

Prairie Warbler male 02-20200314  

Prairie Warbler male 03-20200314

Out on the wet prairie, there were a dozen of these established exotic Gray-headed Swamphens:

Gray-headed Swamphen 01-20200314

Gray-headed Swamphen 03-20200314

Swamphens were joined by a pair of Mottled Ducks on the flooded prairie:

Chapel Trail view to north 03-20200314

A Zebra longwing butterfly sipped on wild Lantana blossoms:

Zebra butterfly 02-20200314 

A male Queen butterfly provided two nice views:

Queen butterfly male 2-20200313

Queen butterfly male 20200313

White Peacock wings are often damaged by their fighting,  so I never pass up a chance to capture a near-perfect specimen :

White Peacock 20200313

A Magnolia tree bloomed in a light rain shower:

Magnolia blossom 20200314 

The sun rising over the entrance to our local Wounded Wetlands:

Sunrise 03-20200413

The April Pink Moon setting:

Pink Moon one day old set 03-20200408

= = =  = = =  = = = =  = = = = =

Linking to:

Fences Around the World

Skywatch Friday

Weekend Reflections

Saturday's Critters


Camera Critters

All Seasons

Wordless Wednesday (on Tuesday)

Our World Tuesday


Please visit the links to all these posts to see some excellent photos on display



  1. What beautiful sights and sounds! I've never seen a barn owl.
    I'm not sure I'd want an early morning walk. We've too many hungry mammals who roam in the night!

  2. Oh, that Raccoon shot! I love his/her little hands. What a wonderful time of day to be out adventuring.

  3. Hello Kenneth
    I first saw barn owls in the great outdoors very beautiful then the raccoon super beautiful
    here with us a plague .. destroy a lot of houses so they are hunted heavily
    stay healthy
    Regards Frank

  4. Some wonderful photos! I like the barn owl!

  5. What a wonderful serie of photo nature. The butterfles are wonderful

  6. Outstanding, Ken!

    Your images evoke that "Springtime" urge to be out early every morning. Soon, hopefully!

    Wow! The Barn Owl photographs are fantastic! I'm totally jealous! Around here I've only seen a Barn Owl twice and have yet to get a photo.

    Hope you're safe and well. Have a great weekend!

    (Note: Our website address has changed:

  7. Beautiful photos. The barn owl photos are wonderful!

  8. Hello, I have had only a quick glance at a Barn Owl off the road while driving. I would love to see one again, they are beautiful. All your birds are lovely captures! Beautiful sky photos. Thank you for linking up and sharing the post. Take care! Enjoy your day, wishing you a great weekend! PS, thank for leaving me a comment on my blog.

  9. Beautiful sunrise,love the composition

  10. I am excited to hear we will have trails opening on Monday! I've been happy with the ONE trail that we can go to but I've missed all of the others. Love that neat colored cow! And of course that raccoon is pretty cute! Have a good weekend!

  11. Always feel as though I'm taking a walk right along with you while reading your posts. The only barn owls I've ever seen have been in a nature center and not "in the wild" Great photos!

  12. A wonderfully post with superb photos. I especially love the racoon. Beautiful looking creature. Thanks for sharing your ramblings.

  13. Love the title of your post...also the barn's terrific. Thanks so much for joining us at I'd Rather B Birdin this week!

  14. I would love to see an owl, any owl, but especially this beautiful barn owl. Enjoyed the sounds. Those raccoon shots are wonderful! Smile, it's Sunday!

  15. Very beautiful series of critters!
    The Zebra butterfly is awesome.
    Thanks for visiting my blog.

  16. That poor old racoon looks a bit stressed - I know how he feels!

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne (ps: how are things in your neck of the woods?)

    1. Hi, Stewart! We are sill sheltering in place, as we in Broward County and the two adjacent Counties (Miami-Dade and Palm Beach) are still under most of the restrictions. We account for more than a third of all the Florida COVID-19 cases. However, we get our walking an hour before sunrise every morning and I get in about 2-3 hours of wildlife watching while nearly never seeing another human being. We order groceries online and even had our routine medical visits via FaceTime. Bottom line, fairly well, though we had to cancel our planned spring flight to Illinois. Hope the finds you well, and thank for the visit!

  17. Wonderful series! I like the patterns on the cow.

  18. Great captures of the birds, cattle, butterflies and sunset!!

  19. Hello Kenneth! I love all these wildlife that you shared us! And thank you for the sound of the barn owl, I played it and it was the first time I've heard about an Owl's sound in recording. That racoon photo is very special that you managed to take a shot of him while his eyes are bloodshot to the camera! Loved it!

  20. A feast for the eyes - every one of these photos is a treasure!
    Thanks for linking up at

  21. I have only ever seen a barn owl once in the wild but it is a sight I will never forget. Your photos are stunning.

  22. I'm visiting from My Corner of the World. Thank you for sharing your wonderful photos of the wildlife in your area. I like the owl and other birds the most.

  23. These images wanna leave the confinement and go out into nature!

  24. Your photos always make me smile when I get here with the beauty and details that you captured! I can't pick a favorite, they are all awesome :)

    It's great to see you at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

  25. Interesting post! The longhorns are unusual looking. Love the raccoon!

  26. Sorry for my late reply. For the first time since the beginning of March I can say I was busy, lol! The face of this owl is so striking - almost otherworldly! The swamphen is so blue! Who knows when I get the inspiration to capture this one in a painting:) You have so much experience in birding that it's not a problem for you that they closed the park! Many thanks for sharing these details with All Seasons! Wishing you a great rest of the week (has the reversal of the lockdown begun in FL?) Cheers, Jesh

  27. wonderfull photos
    I love them all


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