Wake Up, Little Susie, Wake Up
Bill, the guy next door who winds Christmas lights on his saguaro, told me an elf owl had been spotted living in that same giant cactus. When I saw it way up there I got my tripod and 400 mm lens and set up in the middle of the street. I had never seen an elf owl so I was anxious to shoot one.
It turned out to be a western screech owl. These guys are only about 8 inches tall, so I understand how people can be confused. I see them every June in the tree on the other side of my house during their breeding period. This was the first time I've seen any owls around here other than mid-summer, so it was an absolute treat. I must have taken a couple hundred shots while it basked in the warmth with it's eyes closed. FINALLY, they opened.
These petite owls are known to stick their heads out of a cavity on sunny winter days. Today, the conditions were perfect for that - we tied the record high of 80°/27° and it was definitely sunny. All-in-all, a very nice start to the new year.