Learning to Fly

We heard them long before we saw them.
The roof of cypress forest was angry with cackling and screeching. A harshly out of tune orchestra of songbirds were “mobbing” a predator—yelling in effect” Hey leave tourterritory!”

We were biking on the Old River Run, a shell rock path cut through a dense marsh in misty shade of ancient Cypress, Palms, and Banyans at Riverbend Park Jupiter, Florida.
The 680 acre Palm Beach County park and preserve features miles of narrow paths that weave through the watershed of the Loxahatchee River.

Our small group was nearing the end of a great morning of shooting herons, ibis, ducks, and anhingas, before enjoying this rare surprise.

We quietly set our bikes down, and connected
tripods, cameras and telephotos.

A baritone hoo hoo came from high in the trees. We gazed up to see the shadow the size of a basketball well–camoflaged by mother nature. Not a great photo op, so we systematically scanned the tree trunks from high to low. Our efforts were rewarded with the sight of two fledgling Barre Owls near ground level. They hopped from one cypress knee to the next, attempting to fly.
Their dark eyes stayed fixed in place, while they swiveled their heads on a constant watch for food or enemies.
One of two fledglings successfully flew up to join the parent
high in the tree. The other just hopped about until
his portrait was taken, then walked back into the undercover.