James River Water Levels

Westham Gauge
Gauge Height: 4.02'
Flow: 2170 cfps

Trail Conditions: Richmond


Todays Tides: Richmond Locks

High Tide: 12:12pm
Low Tide: 6:42am

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Posted In: Birding

Barred owl in Forest Hill Park

June 23, 2012 3:01pm

Credit: Wil Loy

Check out this pic of a barred owl in Forest Hill Park. I was mountain biking there yesterday with Wil Loy and Jeff Jennings. We’d crossed the concrete bridge over Reedy Creek, going west (uphill) approaching the switchbacks. Jeff was in the lead and I was behind him when this bird took off from the ground right next to him. At first it looked like a hawk, but when it landed in a tree maybe 10 yards away, we quickly realized it was an owl.

We sat there for 10 minutes taking pictures and just watching it. It watched us right back. None of us had ever seen an owl do that — just sit there in the middle of the day so close to humans. We figured it must have had a kill on the ground where it took off from and wasn’t going to go very far without it.

Call it a little trail magic and put it on the very long list of why Richmond’s urban parks are so cool.

About Andy Thompson

I was the Outdoors Columnist at the Times-Dispatch from 2007 to 2013, writing twice a week about mountain biking, fishing, hunting, paddling and much more. I live a 1/4 mile from the James River, close enough to see bald eagles soaring over my house on their way to find a meal. Pretty cool, eh?