Find the birdie on the beach!

Even though this is a story covering an ecological system that is not part of the your Piedmont, a focal point is a very familiar animal…the Great Horned Owl.

From Bill Dunson:
While looking for snowy plovers today at Stump Pass State Park in Englewood, FL, I was once again reminded of how difficult these birds are to find on a sandy background. The degree of camouflage is quite amazing. Look at the photo taken from a distance and the bird is quite hard to find- indeed in the viewfinder I could not see where the bird was. When you crop the photo a bit the bird is obvious.
The advantage of being cryptic is painfully clear from the bits and pieces of royal terns scattered around (see photo above left). Apparently the great horned owls are feeding their two large young (see photo below) on royals and are catching them at night where they roost on the upper beach. They must rip off the head and the wings at the capture site and take the body back to the nest. This is an up close and personal view of the somewhat shocking impact of predation.
-Bill Dunson