Rumors of an owl at the Fritch City Park got me into birding 2 years ago. We never did see the owl at the park and I’ve looked and looked the past couple of years with only fleeting glimpses of what I thought might me a Barn Owl late one evening last fall as something large and pale flashed across the road in front of me. Another encounter occured around mid-night a few weeks ago as my partner and I returned from Amarillo after a transfer. Again, there was only an impression of a large bird as it crossed our headlights. This morning, though, I finally got a few photos of a Great Horned Owl. I had gone out to McBride Canyon, a partially developed camping spot near the Alibates Flint Quaries on the Canadian River. I was leaving the canyon after a fairly successful morning of birding that included Red-headed Woodpeckers, Blue-Gray Gnatcatchers, and Mississippi Kites,
or perhaps the Swainson’s Hawk
that I had seen earlier, but I stopped the truck and had a look through the binoculars, anyway. It was a Great Horned Owl, not an uncommon owl around here, as they are year round residents, but the first I had seen. The photo’s aren’t great; the sun, while not directly behind the bird, was close enough to my line of sight that is cast some pretty dark shadows on the face of the owl. Also the bird was about 100 meters away and about 30 meters higher than me. I took a few pictures and then drove on up the road a bit to try to get a better angle and took a few more. Bird number 182 on my life list.