I have a bit of a back log of updates hopefully over the next couple weeks I’ll be able to get up to date as we get close to nesting season…so I will start these from the owner of Site 8,
From Jan 16th
Last night I was lucky enough to see the red owl leave the slot box at about 4:55 pm. It was getting pretty dark by then, but I was able to track its flight to a tree on the edge of our yard. Almost immediately afterwards I saw a second owl fly in from the direction of the grey owl’s tree hollow. It met the red owl and although their silhouettes were partially blocked by a tree, it was apparent the two owls copulated! I moved to a window closer to the activity and I could still see the silhouettes of both owls.
I was able to confirm that the red owl is the female and the grey owl the male. Both owls lingered on their respective perches for nearly ten minutes before they flew off.
From Feb 11th
I haven’t seen the red female and the grey male together since our trip to NYC on Jan 24th to 26th. For the past two weeks only the red owl has been seen regularly in our yard, usually in the slot box at sunrise. On a few occasions the slot box has appeared to be vacant all day; only to see an owl appear at about sunset or even a little later. In the dimming light of dusk I cannot say for sure whether the owl was the red or the grey or even a new individual. The tree hollow used by the grey male is filled with snow, so I can no longer see two owls simultaneously.
Today the red female came to the slot box at dawn and was present at sunset. I checked a couple of times to see if she was still in the box as it got darker. By about 5:30 she had left the box. At about 5:39 I scanned the yard (looking west) to see if I could spot her silhouette. I spotted her in a short time and almost immediately a second owl swooped and copulated with her! I assume the first owl was the red female, but I could not identify the second owl, which flew off as quickly as it arrived. I got a second glance of it as it flew toward and over my vantage point at the door to our back deck. The female remained on her perch for a moment and then flew off. An owl appeared in the slot box. Seconds later an owl was following the same route toward me and over the house. It was too dark to see color, but the incident confirms a pair of owls are active in the neighborhood even though only one of them has been seen during the past two weeks.
From Feb 24th
Last night my wife and I watched the red female until she left the slot box at about 5:45pm. She perched in the crabapple tree for about 10 minutes until a second owl flew in from the west. After a short pause, the female flew across our yard and landed near the second owl. THIS OWL quickly flew over and copulated with the female. After that the female returned to the slot box and we lost sight of the male in the darkness. The red female very rarely returns to the slot box after leaving it at dusk; so something was different. This morning I watched an owl emerge from the round box to perch in the crabapple tree for about 5 minutes and then it flew into the slot box at about 6 am. In that light, the owl seemed different and as the light improved the owl is grey! Since the light was good I took 3 sets of photos to commemorate the event! Then … Surprise, SURPRISE the female appeared!
Thank for the updates, what a great shot of the pair!
There appears to be a change of owls here. The red phase female was seen earlier in the fall but it seem that she may be gone and replaced with a gray(ish) phase one.
Hi I am having trouble deciding who this is as the owl is on the brown side,
not red and this is the one I have been seeing a lot of? It behaves like our
female from last year but in all light it seems brownish
From 12/27/2014 We confirmed today that it is a morph female and the gray male was here yesterday-took pictures and compared them- sad our red female is gone
It is turning out to be a hotly contested owl challenge. With the unusually warm day, we took a family walk through the local beach and dune trails. Now, my wife had not gotten a point off of a snowy owl so far (including last year) so she was determined that she would this time. Her dedication paid off, as she grabbed her first point for a snowy owl (just happened also to be in great light). She pulled ahead 3-2. But the walk was not over and I needed to keep pace to keep the challenge competitive. I was able rebound from the earlier score, and picked up 1 point for a snowy as we were heading back to get things knotted at 3 points a piece to end the day as it started, all tied up.
It actually was a 2 barred owl day, but only one counted as a point towards the owling challenge…Road side owls are worth a point if they can be photo documented or all together in the vehicle and all see it. Well this one happened to be first thing this morning. It caught my attention as it flew along the road, in the opposite direction as I was driving. I found a safe place to turn around and was able to quickly re-locate it. There was hardly any light so a b/w docu-shot was the best I could do, but it was good enough for the strict judging standards for the challenge… I was able to get a better photo of the woodlot barred owl in last post. But no point for that one.
As I just posted the great horned owl has seemingly driven out the barred owl(s) from their wintering grounds. Now it seems that owls have a similar sense of what provides a good roosting spot. As the great horned was in a spot where, in the previous 2 ‘winters’, at least one barred owl has used regularly. I have heard this happening before, sometimes with in days..but it seems that there are prime roosting spots in the owl world. (the link is to a fellow ‘owlers blog network’ member that is in the UK.)
The last few years a barred owl had been spending its winters near this site. Last year a second barred owl showed up as well and as usual they disappeared for the spring. Then for seemingly one day a great horned owl showed up. But it was not to be seen again, until now (if its the same owl). I had noticed the absence of barred owls this year, and this great horned owl if taking up residence could help explain their absence. Great horned owls will prey on barred owls and any other smaller owls. The screech owls nesting box is about 1/4 mile or less away. Just as the screech owls had to avoid being preyed upon by the barred owl(s) they will have to avoid this great horned. Anyway the female screech owl has been regularly spending the day in her box including today.
Saw a barred owl yesterday…only got one shot off before it took off…missed the focus (on foreground cedar) actually had the focus on the 1/2 press but must have let up just enough to have the cam try to re-aquire focus and mess things up…by myself so no point for the owl challenge…that is all…cheers.
This is not the first time the seemingly abundance of screech owls have been noted here but its impressive none-the-less. 3 owls seen from one property.
There are THREE OWLS in our neighborhood at sunrise this morning and I could see all three from inside our home. 1) red owl in the slot box 2) the ‘new’ grey Owl that appeared this weekend 3) another grey owl in a near by…. Ever since Sunday morning, when both the Red and the Gray Screech Owl appeared together in our yard, I’ve been wondering where the Gray Owl went. The two owls flew in together and perched on the same branch of the apple tree. During the instant that it took for the red owl fly to the slot box, the gray owl disappeared. I hadn’t seen it since it flew off. This morning the yard birds were making a loud demonstration around this tree in our neighbor’s yard. I checked this hole several times and finally saw the GRAY OWL! It remained visible while I got outside and carefully approached the tree. As I aimed the camera, it vanished into the hole! It reappeared later but it was dusk by then. The good news is that I can see this roost from the same vantage point that I use to see the two owl boxes.
Today I will post the two photos I took today 2014-12-04. It was before sunrise, so the exposure was too long for my unsteady Nikon with the 200mm lens. I could see Owls #1 & #2 from the door to the deck in our back yard. I could see #3 from the living room windows.
2 of the 3 owls. Great update, thank you!
Owl wise there were a pair of barred owls hooting it up all late summer into early fall. Have yet to get a visual but they are fun to hear never-the-less. Now the real reason for the site update is that the leucistic red-tailed hawk is still around. I just happened to see it glide by, thought it disappeared just as quickly, but it decided to land on a tall spruce about 100 yards away. It really is a striking hawk, and I am still amazed that it has acquired more color as its aged. If you please, compare it to Phil Brown’s excellent photo back in october 2011
Update from the owner of site 9
Our red female owl from last year has been back in the box every night for the last 2 weeks! She has brought in a frog , a rat and a house sparrow. We have installed a bird cam in the box ( Spy on a Bird camera) so we can study the owls behaviors more closely. The gray male ( same one from last year) has been sleeping in the box for 2 nights in the last few days! It seems the pair are taking turns using the box which we hope is a positive sign that they will use our box again and we hopefully will have another successful breeding and fledging.
The male was hanging out with the snow on his head this am! he and the female are taking turns in the box!
The family took a late afternoon walk as we got a break from the unseasonably cold weather we have been having. I got my first point in this years owl challenge. It was a snowy owl. This year probably won’t be as snowy owl filled as last years record irruption year. However, if early indicators are fairly accurate then it could be a better than average year for snowies. So for now 2 points for my wife, and 1 point for me.
Great news, great update from the first one!!!and yes you did get some great photos. THANKS!
I never let you know, our pair of owls had four owlets. I thought it was three but as the first owlet fledged another owlet took its place. It was remarkable to watch.
The female is already here using the same box as last year, already. I saw two in the box one day but as I tried to get a photo it dropped back in box though the female stayed out. But I think whatever visitor this owl had has left. I got some amazing photos.
Fantastic site banding and migration monitoring, owls, diurnal raptors and songbirds:
Hawk Ridge Blog looks mainly active in the fall months. Follow the link to their main site for some statistics and more info as well.
Has a great photo with a side by side by side size comparison of saw-whet, long-eared and barred in this post