Month: March 2013

She is on a Roll,(while I got a pity point)

talking about the owl finding competition, which will officially end April 1, as our self-declared deadline, my wife has a commanding 2 point lead, really a 3 point lead, but she let me have one point… the story… Last weekend we took a walk in area that on paper has good long-eared potential, while its public accessible it see very little traffic. However, there are almost too many places as there are lots of dense cedars stands, opened stands of cedars, scattered white,pitch and red pine, with some brambles mixed in w/ fields and marsh near by. anyway on the trail, we flushed (what else) a barred owl from 10 feet away. I got the point because I ‘called it’ a split second earlier than she did even though we saw it at the same time, disappointingly neither of us picked it out before it flushed! but really she just trying to keep my spirits up…Her latest was at the end of a family walk in the Appleton farm ‘grass rides’, where she gave hand signals to the rest of the family as she spotted a low roosting (very small=male?) barred in about 30 feet from the trail, at dusk. The previous owl(s) we have seen were on the other side of this large trustee property so almost certainly a ‘new’ owl for us. We quietly observed it and then moved on back to the car. A quality point! Ahh there is always next year.

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‘White’ Hawk Sighting

Site 2

It seems this is the time of year is when I get to see this mostly leucistic red-tailed hawk. Last September was the last time I saw it. It looks as though its has a bit more coloration on its head, I guess that this is the same hawk but after a molt some coloration came back around the head? what are the chances this is a different hawk? still to far away at ~125 meters (410+ feet) so this is the best I could do.

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3-27-13 go 6 months with out seeing this hawk and now see it twice in as many days, saw it first thing this morning on my way into work, the sun had yet to get above the tree line, but it was quite a bit closer.

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Finally a Photo of the Female?

Site 3

It is not the first photo, but the first decent one where the new owl’s facial features can be clearly seen. Both being gray phased, it quite difficult, so this is the first photo that definitively shows ways to tell the two owls apart…The first thing that I notice is the almost complete lack of facial disk borders. Less obvious is a bit more rusty highlights. She seems to be spending quite a bit of time in the pole box (without the box cam) so we are hoping she switches it up to nest.

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compare to this owl (male most likely) photo from 3/14/13, notice much stronger facial disk borders.
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Two Owl Stroll, (plus equipment upgrade)

My wife got both ahead by 2 in the competion! family stroll around Long Hill the first barred was roosting along the trail about 30-35 feet in a pine. The second was about 1/4 mile away, also in a pine (mid-grown) and a bit lower say 20-25 feet up. Could it be a pair? I heard a ruckus of nuthatches and I went to investigate, there were chickadees and a downy woodpecker or two, but they didn’t seem agitated, just the nuthatches, I was about to conclude it was just a territory/breeding dispute among nuthatches when my wife called out, another barred! Seems the student has bested the teacher when it comes to locating owls.

Now, just a quick note on equipment, so over the last 2 years (using HS10), trying to figure out a direction for documenting owls, ie camera…go DSLR, or Micro 4/3rds, stick with the superzoom, weighing pluses and minuses. I liked looking at what the other owlers (owlblognetwork and others) used as the took some fantastic images but knew I needed long reach and portability for long walks in shady woods. So I think this solution will work for a while. Its still a small sensor superzoom. (for the interested/ technically interested)
The panasonic FZ200, which is 25 to 600mm lens but has a constant F2.8 lens, other superzooms go double the length (1200mm) but cost at lens speed. BUT, unlike DSLR teleconverters(TC), a quality TC on the front of the lens will yield little to no loss of light…So now added a 1.7 TC to the lens and its a 1020mm lens with an F2.8 constant if need be. So most of the time thats what I will be using for my shots, although there will still be contribution from owners with anything and everything, after all there are no bad pictures to document owls.
Alright enough about equipment on to the owls!!!

first owl along the trail,
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second owl about 1/4 mile from the first, (pair??)
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An Owl Gone, New Owl is Here

Site 3

Just Recently (3-9-13) a new owl, presumably a female has shown up.
So R.I.P ruf-ette, as the owner of site 3 named her. She fledged 14 owlets over the last 3 seasons.
So now a new gray female is present (a major benefit of pairing boxes with like color morph owl pairs)
Kinda bitter sweet.

photos were taken on different days but they have been both seen at once.

presumed new female, notice a bit lighter disk, upto ear tuffs, and around beak?
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looks similar to other photos of the male from previous years/earlier this year.
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ruf-ette, taken in october 2012, but something happened to her.

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Two Owl Confirmed

Site 8

This was sent yesterday 3-10-13 from the owner of site 8.

TWO OWLS THIS MORNING – at last my suspicions are confirmed! The “pale white-face” is in the round box and the slightly darker owl is in the slot box. Their differences are very subtle! No wonder I’ve been confused about whether I’ve been seeing one owl or two in the slot box. I’ve attached photos, but must apologize for their quality. My smaller camera with zoom lenses malfunctioned, so I used the larger Nikon with a 55mm lense. I enlarged the image dramatically and cropped it severely to only focus on the owls.

no apologies needed, any pic is a good pic of owls!
Thanks for the update.
2013-03-11two owl day (3)

2013-03-11two owl day (2)

Making a Couple of Appearances

Site 1.

Well the female made a brief appearance both Monday and Tuesday, don’t know if this means she is not incubating or what? I guess I don’t expect to see her at all when she is incubating except on warmer days, but it was cool but not cold, and she wasn’t up for to long so I guess she still could be. I will keep on guessing until hopefully owlets will allow some back calculating.

update 3-9-13: doesn’t seem to be incubating yet, was in the entrance for at least an hour today.

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Standing Guard

Site 1

Like last year, the male has started to hang out in the entrance of what should be the nest box, the female was seen as recently as Feb 26, where she spent much of the the time in the entrance, meaning she wasn’t incubating yet. So the the male showing up here may indicate that she is now incubating. He was first seen in the entrance, March 1, and was seen again today, March 3. If so, that would put fledging around the end of April/Early May
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