Ok so these photos are not the best but you try taking photos in the dark with a moving target that is normally pretty shy. I am not going to wait for better photos because I know certain people that have been trying to get a photo of this species in NC for 20 plus years. This particular juvenile bird was seen at Devil's Courthouse on the Blue Ridge Parkway. My wife and kids went down the trail and waited by the car as it started to get dark but I hung on until it got pitch dark and these beauties starting tooting up a storm. If you have never heard a Northern Saw-whet, do yourself a favor and head up to the Devil's Courthouse on a summer night and listen. It is one of those things that everyone should experience at least once.
Most of the owls I saw that night were brief glimpses of birds flying by my headlamp but this particular juvenile was a daredevil or just plain naive and perched briefly a couple feet from me. I have been back to the same spot about 4-5 times and had some brief sightings and some distant tooters, but nothing compared to this one magical moment.