Fort Desoto Park is a favorite destination for campers and beach goers in central Florida. It is a favorite stop over for snow-bird campers escaping the cold and snow. It is also a wonderful photographic destination for many varieties of shore and wading birds as well as a resident pair of Great Horned Owls that I first photographed last year. A day trip was planned several weeks ago to photograph the owlets in the nest. The pair had moved from their nesting location of several years near the beach to a more wooded and secluded location. We found the two owlets in a small nest atop a dead palm tree as seen in this photo.
After the one day trip I planned a 5 day camping trip to Fort Desoto. Photography friend Bill Little joined me for two days. Once we arrived we found the owlets had fledged from the nest during a storm. For several days we could only find the male of the pair but got many photos of him in different lighting conditions.
It wasn't until my final full day that I located mom and both kids. I first found dad in the same general area as previously. I went back to the nest location and began searching about a 50 yard radius from there. I first located mom and one of the kids high in a pine tree but no sign of the other kid. The photo below is that owlet but mom was too well hidden for photos.
I decided to continue searching for the other kid and finally located it in a tree about 25 yards from the mom and kid.
If you are ever in the area Fort Desoto is worth the visit; white sand beaches, kayaking, fishing and over 320 documented species of birds. Another popular photograph subject is known as "Big Red", a Reddish Egret that frequents the North Beach lagoon. More on Big Red in my next post.
We plan to return to Fort Desoto in April for the song bird migration as they stop over here during their return north from Mexico and South America.
All photos shown here were taken with a long telephoto lens and 1.4x extender for a combined 700 mm to hopefully minimize any disruption to the owls.
As always thanks for visiting and please share with friends.