The Owl and the Lightning

My wife Gwen and I had an amazing bird, and storm experience here in the Washoe Valley Tuesday evening. It hasn’t rained here since May, but, for the past five days we have had tremendous thunderstorms with frequent cloud to ground lightning,(they say it also goes from ground to cloud). Storms  to us now are festive occasions! So there we where with our noses pasted against the glass watching bolts of lightning careen through the valley, hail accumulating on the deck and lawn, CRACK lightning illuminated everything! What was that? There is something sitting on the post where our trusty anemometer sits.  Where we seeing things we thought? Crack, again? There it was, creepy, a Halloween icon. A Great Horned Owl was perched waiting out the storm. This was not the first time we had such a wise visitor, they nest in, and frequent the Valley!

Great Horned Owl illuminated by lightning in the Washoe Valley Nevada

Great Horned Owl illuminated by lightning in the Washoe Valley of Nevada

I ran and grabbed my camera. Snap, crackle and pop the power goes out and we are in the dark except for a flash light and the flashes of lightning.  I set my camera,( a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark II  with a 28-70mm lens) to BULB. This setting allows the lens to stay open as you keep the shutter compressed. By hand I placed the camera against the glass of the window depressed the shutter and waited for another bolt of lightning. Not a long wait at all, Crack, the light flashed and I took my finger off the shutter button and the shutter closed. There the owl was lite eerily. Remember I am hand holding this so there is lots of camera movement. A tripod would truly helped but “Legs” was in the trunk of my car. Try again. Press the shutter, bang multiple bolts lit everything! This one looked like daylight. Still the Owl hung out,how cool. Normally when it visits it sits on the pole that houses the electric, and cable. I guess a little more shelter and a lot less conducting material made his roosting decision clear.

Great Horned Owl illuninated by lightning in the Washoe Valley Nevada

Great Horned Owl and lightning

From a professional and quality standpoint these pictures are not significant (horrible at best). It was such an exciting experience, at least I have it documented!

One Response to “The Owl and the Lightning”

  1. Sofia says:

    WOW!!! Thank you so much for posting these pictures! Living in Washoe Valley is defenetively just how you described it here in your story. In fact, I was looking for stories about Washoe Valley Owls to read to my daughter. Because we hear them so often and .lately almost every night. As a matter of fact, a wind storm is going by right now and we can hear them near the house. They are very beautiful creatures and help control the rodent population in this area. :)

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