Tennessee Valley

Great Horned Owls by Walter Kitundu

Spring seems to be the time for seeing Great Horned Owls in and around the city. Tennessee Valley has always been a reliable place to spot them. I had walked to the beach and back with no luck last week when this owl finally appeared just as I was getting back to my car.

It seemed to know the area around the stables very well and flew with practiced ease from perch to perch as it hunted. I was glad to find the owl behaved naturally even as I approached with the camera. It rarely gave me a second glance as it scanned the hillside below.

Here it is perched atop the main barn which affords a commanding view of the surrounding area. Moments later it silently leapt off the barn and dropped to head height, gliding within 5 feet of my friend's face, only to perch again on a low fencepost behind him.

A fearsome predator descends in the night. I love the strangeness of this image and the star shapes created by the owl's tucked in talons.

I've also spent a little time at Stow Lake where 4 chicks have fledged and are exploring Strawberry Hill. It is amazing to be in San Francisco sharing a hilltop with 6 owls.

Once darkness falls you can hear their incessant begging calls as they hop from tree to tree honing their flight skills.