About 50 minutes from where we stay in Naples lies Marco Island. Like some of the other small islands on the Florida coast to Marco is very 'developed'.
However the island does have it's treasures. Scattered around there are still plots of land yet to have a house plonked on them and amazingly these were the source of my favourite snaps from the holiday. I had heard about the burrowing owls on a previous visit and an email to Nancy Ritchie City of Marco Island Environmental Specialist gave me a steer to some nest sites. In fact as I was to find out the owls are doing well and even before I went I had found some other sites as well - all will be explained later!
In all I had 2 trips - one visit instead of a morning fishing session, and then a second on a day when Kay, Simon and Angela all came down to join me. On day 1 the light wasn't so good, but I found the owls, they were very confiding with a little care (it seemed some sites were more used to people than others) and I couldn't wait to visit in better light.
Trip 2 saw better light, but the dawn glow didn't last and I was soon reminded how strong sunlight can be, creating harsh contrast, Still I got more snaps of a very relaxed pair of owls.
In general pics of wildlife look better if the object is looking in your direction, but in contrast to appearances most of the time I was ignored and the owls scanned for other threats - large birds overhead provoked some concern, ............
and whilst people strolling past didn't seem to worry them there was more of a reaction if they were walking dogs - or a large noisy lorry went past.
My visits were still quite short and I didn't get much chance to snap behaviours other than scanning the neighbourhood. I had to giggle though when one of the pair started to do some housework.
At least at home I don't run the risk of being blinded if I get in the way!!
I said I found more nest sites before I visited - the power of Google maps. You see the nest sites are protected by the City Council, each resembling a crime scene marked out with orange tape - and you can see them on satellite view! I later found that not all the taped sites belonged to owls, but that's the next post.