Barn Owl – daytime sighting at Riley Wilderness Park – Coto De Caza February 21, 2017

The winter gloom of clouds, rain and cooler weather here in southern California always seems to strike a nerve that owls may be more prevalent as mice and other vermin surface in drenched, muddy or flooded areas.  The recent re-openings of many of the OC Parks trails allowed personal time to investigate and pursue this intuition one step further.  Today this internal hunch proved to be fruitful as this afternoon I opted to travel along the Wagon Wheel Canyon Trail at Riley Wilderness Park just outside Coto De Caza in Orange County, California.  Just past 3:30 pm I noted a small batch of crows swooping in and out of the oak trees on the eastern side of the trail just past the ranger’s trailer.  As I walked closer to observe a few sparrows and the aforementioned commotion, I noted the backside of an unfamiliar raptor hopping several branches within the oaks and take cover.  As I inched closer, a sudden crunch of the scrub brush caused the raptor to swivel its head as they are unable to move their eyes.  Once it’s remarkable facial disc was clearly visible, there was no mistaking this was clearly a Barn Owl.  I don’t recall seeing one of these during daylight hours except in a man made owl box asleep at O’Neill Regional Park and also at the Aliso Woods and Canyon Trail.  The orange hues and brown tones of this owl’s plumage were simply remarkable.  It was preoccupied with the small crow bombing thus allowing for a few photographs while standing at the edge of a ravine.  You’ll note in the images below, both front and side views were captured.  I try and be mindful when observing or capturing images of these raptors in such situations – this is mother nature engaged and not to outstay your welcome.  Please enjoy the photos below of this seldom seen raptor. (images taken with a Canon 400mm lens and a Canon 7D cropped sensor which equates to 640mm).

Photo taken at Riley Wilderness Park in Coto De Caza, CA February 21, 2017

Barn Owl – Tyto alba ©Anthony Gliozzo

Photo taken at Riley Wilderness Park in Coto De Caza, CA February 21, 2017

Barn Owl – Tyto alba ©Anthony Gliozzo

Photo taken at Riley Wilderness Park in Coto De Caza, CA February 21, 2017

Barn Owl – Tyto alba ©Anthony Gliozzo

Photo taken at Riley Wilderness Park in Coto De Caza, CA February 21, 2017

Barn Owl – Tyto alba ©Anthony Gliozzo

4 Responses

  1. Cheri Miller

    Stunning!
    and since “stunning!” is “ERROR YOU ENTRY WAS TOO SHORT”: Haven’t been to Riley in WAAAAAAY to long. We had a Barn Owl fly right over us (during the day) once in the O’Neill Arroyo. I was taking my then boss on a tour of the trail. He remembers that and some coyote scat. He told everyone at work abut the owl and the “poop”. He also thinks that roadrunners have heads the size of “grapefruits”. Every time I see a roadrunner… I have to laugh.

  2. Thanks Cheri – yes I set up comments to have a minimum to cut down on spammers – thanks

  3. Fantastic photos! Thanks a lot.

  4. Thank you for stopping by and the kind words

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