On the way to Thanksgiving dinner at our daughters we saw a Great Blue Heron in the field just down the road from us. We used to see them quite often. We even had a heron nest in a big cedar tree on our farm. Our neighbor had dug a pond fed by the artesian spring that comes down the hill and runs along the front of our place. The neighbor stocked this pond with fish in hopes that his grandson would have a fishing hole. So, the heron wasn't in our tree for the likes of us...it just had a bird's eye view over dinner.
But, on the way home we had a real treat! It was pitch dark, 10:30 PM, as we pulled onto the private dirt road that goes across our pasture and up the hill to the house. As we turned in, the car lights revealed what I thought was a big cat sitting on one of the fence posts. And, then we could see it was a huge owl!!! It was perched looking out into the field for something to move. We stopped the car. We just stared for the longest time. This giant bird with its white monkey like face turned and looked at us full-on several times. We inched a little closer and stopped. Jim and I have never seen a barn owl on the property. (I guess we need a barn!)
We eased forward a few more times, the headlights revealing more of its beauty.
Then it brought up its wings in a surprisingly large span and flew low off into the field.
I have seen great horned owls high in the trees down on the Nisqually delta where I took the kids for cold wintertime birding years ago. But, this owl was only 15 feet away...and caught doing what they do best...hunting at night.