Just the drive to Hato el Cedral was exciting enough – water buffalo being grazed, the odd capybara or caiman visible from the side of the road and periodically big flocks of ducks and waders in roadside pools (or vultures and caracara on roadkill). The moment I knew we were somewhere truly special was a few minutes after arriving when a big fluffy shape swooped through my peripheral vision. After a couple of seconds of blankly gazing at a row of palms I picked out this.
and then a few seconds later its mate materialized out of the background in the same palm. There is a minor chance these owls are famous because of me. Whilst standing admiring them a lady ran through the garden (having spotted the howler monkeys chillaxing in the mango tree) demanding a camera be brought for her. I thought this was rather demanding but changed my tune when a guy ran past with a huge television camera. After a bit of a chat it turned out to be a National Geographic channel film crew filming a documentary on the Llanos (the consensus among the rest of the guests on the boat the next day was that they seemed to be spending rather a long time filming in the garden but I say go with what works). Anyway since the howlers were resolutely kipping and refusing to play ball I pointed out the owls and some footage was taken (that's how the magic happens folks). As previously shown one of the pair took down a big iguana and I mentioned this to the crew again later so they may have some footage of it tucking into that too.
So if you see a documentary on the Llanos with a particularly fabulous pair of Great Horned Owls therein, remember TH made them what they are today! They, of course, gave me some fabulous memories in return. They were present all 5 days in the palms and another pair elsewhere showed well too.
I'm tremendously envious of those of you who get to see big Bubo owls this regularly full time (people like T. Beth), they really are awe-inspiring and I can't get over those big eyes and huge feet!