Local Tampa photographer Michael White messaged me today, asking about where to find owls in Fort DeSoto Park here in Pinellas County. Now, I’ve been going to Fort DeSoto for years and haven’t seen an owl, so my interest was piqued. After poking around on Google, I ran across a local blog mentioning a Great Horned Owl with a fledgling in a nest, easily accessible by the North Beach. As I had some free time in the afternoon, I set out to see if I could find them!
I started at the north end of the North Beach, and walking through the pines near the water, I spotted some interesting shore birds, including this Black-Bellied Plover:
Onward I went, and after much searching, I finally located the Australian pine with the dozing mother owl. I was able to get relatively close and take quite a few pictures:
Suddenly, looking at a branch several feet below the mother, I spotted the fledgling. He was out of the nest, but huddling within a sheltered part of the tree making it difficult to get a clear photo. He was getting large, maybe 2/3 the size of the mother, but he still had a quite fuzzy head:
All in all, a successful afternoon, and some good pictures to go along with it!