Seeing & Looking
On a remote island, we took our rowboat Dog Paddle and pulled our oars though teal waters, over coral formations, to land on the north side of the island. Above the high tide line, a line of pine and tamarisk trees swayed in the breeze. Walking barefoot in buttery-soft sand, we listened. Only the sounds of wavelets, and a rustle of breezes through the trees, caressed the soundscape.
Within this quiet, we heard a hiss. At the high tide line, near a hole in the sand, an eight-inch tall owl was staring. It hissed. It looked us over. The owl's feathers were mottled, it a light-colored beak and grey claws. Those eyes !
Walking the beach, there were several other owl burrows. Two owls flew from their burrows and into an area of palm trees. Then, silence and no sign of any owls. I got a sixth sense of being watched and turned to look through the trees. A pair of yellow eyes looked back. The owl was ten feet up atop of broken palm tree, watching intently with facial feathers covered with sand.
After the owl cleaned its beak with its talons, it gave a single sharp warning cry and took off through the trees. Invisibly, the bird returned to its burrow later on, when no humans were present to hear the burrowing owl.
Photos and Writings by Jim Austin Jimages