Walking along the crest of the hill in the half-light of the morning, I noticed two figures silhouetted against the eastern sky. From my vantage point, I could easily tell that it was a pair of Great–Horned Owls. And as far as I could tell, they had not noticed me. They sat perfectly still and showed no signs of nervousness.
I assumed then that it was a mating pair, and that somewhere in that location was a nest that was probably supporting one or two owlets. Great-Horned Owls typically begin their nesting habits as early as January, so it would only be the matter of finding the nest without any disturbance to the owls. It being deep in their nesting season, the owls would not abandon their babies anyway, but I needed to get just close enough for the long range of my camera lens.
On this morning, however, I kept it a long distance affair. I scanned the area with binoculars but could never find the exact nesting location. Then obvious that I was there, the owls never gave up their brooding home. I would need to come back.
The next day I was at it again, but instead of a morning visit, I was chasing the setting sun. I made myself visible early as I spotted the owls. This time. I exited the crest of the hill and went to the valley. The female, confident that I was leaving the area, circled and headed right to their nesting site.
The top of the tree had been broken off, leaving a perfect nesting location for the owl. With camouflage on, I worked my way to the site. The area was a jumbled mess of trees and blow downs, making it difficult to get in a good location for photographing. But I did, quickly, and left the area.