YOU'RE BARRED!

Northern Barred Owl, Titusville, FL

(NORTHERN) BARRED OWL IS A BIRD I HAVE NEGLECTED SO FAR but I finally got around to making some enquiries at Space Coast this year, as Florida is a good place to catch up with it. The southeastern subspecies georgica is the form concerned here so worth seeing in its own right. A series of happy coincidences led to a great encounter this morning with a pair in a recreation area in the middle of Titusville, starting with a rescued bird that I watch all day on one of the booths opposite mine. While 'Mr Leica USA' Jeff Bouton had kindly been making some enquiries on my behalf, a very nice lady called Susan was showing me a calendar of local wildlife photos she had taken, including a family of barred owls! 'Oh, they are often in the Live Oak hammock behind my house'. In the end it only took me about 10 minutes to find them! I knew their fearsome reputation, including gobbling up smaller owls on migration and they were both very bold in broad daylight allowing fairly close approach. Large individuals can weigh double that of our own Tawny Owl - they are big birds! 2014 is hopefully going to be a good owl year for me with plenty more nice ones lined up...so fingers crossed!

Live Oak, Titusville FL

Titusville sunrise - the view from my motel room