It’s not all fun and games on the dusty phtog trail – Mike Reppert files this wild report:

I now have a new found respect for critters. I arrived this morning at the Scott starling nature trail at twilight…which can be a lil spooky. I surprised a barred out, which had to be on the ground and flew up into the tree pictured. (All photos are brightened so you can see, and others taken after sun up) Honestly, was a lil uneasy being that close to owl to begin with…but pull out iPhone and take couple of photos. Okay, it flys off in opposite directions. So I start walking toward my destination….then I feel a dull sharp pain on my upper right forehead, and my hat hits the ground!!!!

Photo Mike Reppert

Photo Mike Reppert

Photo Mike Reppert

And I hear a swoosh swoosh, sound of wings!!! I let out a yell, get down to ground…look around and then just run to get out of trees. I talked to a fellow birder about 10 minutes later…he was in total disbelief. Glad I was alright…he’d only heard of that happening once on tv. He did mention others had been taking photos of it all week. So, I either scared it, it was protecting a nest, thought I was food, just wanted to play. Or was tired of having its photo taken. I have been that scared in years!!! Oh, I saw the deer, right before getting to the car, told it to watch out for a crazy owl.