He was no bigger than my hand but BOY did he have spirit. A little pearl spotted owl with tons of heart and a mean temper or a wicked Napoleon complex, not sure which. I’ll call him Lil Jake. We stopped to watch some buffalo but Lil Jake apparently wanted our attention.
With us in-between, he’d swoop low and fast to scare us off, flying from one tree to another. He’d land on a limb and we could see his little mind working: determining the trajectory; accounting for wind and barometric pressuring; figuring out which head he’d buzz the closest too. Unfortunately for him, we were a vehicle full of photographers and his repetitive behavior gave us an opportunity to test our tracking skills and see if we could catch him in flight. It wasn’t easy.
We didn’t stay very long… didn’t want to ruffle his feathers too much, but in a flurry of blurry, completely empty, or just plain bad shots that I took of him while he dived bombed the jeep, I was pleased to have nailed this!
Ain’t he cute with his “I’m a big mean owl” scowl?
~Timbavati, South Africa
To see more images and tales from Timbavati, click here.