Solar Eclipse vs. Kimber Park Wildlife

A really cool time to grab your camera and head outside is during a solar eclipse. One of my favorite effects is the reflection of the eclipse in shadows cast through tree leaves.

Here’s the eclipse’s effect on the shadow of a weeping birch:

Solar Eclipse reflected in tree shadows.

I wanted to see the effect on the local wildlife, so I headed into the Kimber foothills.

This big mule deer buck, with his antlers in velvet, seemed confused. Here he is viewing the sun from the hillside:

Kimber Park mule deer puzzles over solar eclipse

The local turkey vultures were definitely in a tizzy. They looked to be hustling back to their roost, surprised that “sunset” was coming early:

Turkey vultures hurry back to nighttime roost, confused by solar eclipse.

Hmm, this guy seemed to be coming around to check up on me:

Turkey vulture checks photographer for life signs.

What would the Great-Horned Owls be doing? I trekked to their nest site, only to see the following:

Empty Great-Horned Owl Nest

It looks like the two young owls fledged and had already left the area. I waited and searched the area thoroughly, but now that the young were out of the nest the Great-Horned Owls were no longer going to be easy to find. 😦

Here are a couple of pics of the owlets, at most just five days before they fledged. You can see the flight feathers coming in, as well as an owlet practicing flapping in preparation for his upcoming life journey.

Kimber Park Great-Horned Owlet, partially feathered out.

Great-Horned Owl owlet strengthens his wings.

I’ll miss seeing them, but its fun to know that they out making their way in the world.

Watch for additional posts on the other raptor nests currently active in Kimber Park.