This post is in response to two photo challenges, which I could say is killing two birds with one stone, but given the subject matter, that would be most inappropriate. This week’s Sunday Stills challenge theme is ‘Flight’ (see more responses here), and this week’s Friendly Friday challenge theme is ‘Dreamy’ (see more responses here).
The ‘flight’ response is more immediately obvious. This is a pueo (Hawaiian short-eared owl) flying. In the top photo it’s cruising over pastureland. In the middle is its initial launch into the air. Below that, hovering above something promising in the grass. And at the bottom, a dive to take a better look.
These photos also work for the ‘dreamy’ response for two less apparent reasons. The first is that I’ve always had flying dreams, less frequently these days, but still every now and again. The thought of gliding above the landscape, as in the top photo, is very pleasing for me. The second reason is that seeing pueo is still a somewhat surreal, dreamy event. Owls are often nocturnal, but pueo are active during the day. In the air they are accomplished fliers, gliding, hovering, diving with little apparent effort. At rest, they look very dignified as they sit, keeping watch, head swiveling a disconcerting 360°.
These photos are of the same pueo, seen on a recent drive along Old Saddle Road, southeast of Waimea. I’ll post other photos of this bird once I’ve had time to go through them, but seeing it was a great, chance encounter at the end of my best ever day for seeing pueo.