It looks as though the winter of 2013-2014 is going to be quite a good year for snowy owls. The last irruption year was 2011-2012. We are not too far removed from the last good year. This year it seems the east coast is snowy central, from NJ to ME reports are poring in. It was like someone turned on the snowy owl switch. It is fitting that the first point for the owling challenge between my wife and myself goes for a snowy owl. I got the point. We were taking a family walk through some beach trails. My wife gets all distracted having fun with our kids, while I was up ahead a bit and see a low flying white bird. I lost sight of it briefly as it dipped down into a dune valley only to rise up and settle on the top of a dune ridge. It was pretty far away maybe 150-200 yards, and no trails that passed closer to it, but good enough to get a document pic. Everyone got to see it as well.
A barred owl has been wintering in a wood lot not more than 1/4 mile away from site 1 since late 2010 early 2011.
I never did document or confirm the barred late 2011 to early 2012 but had my suspicions. Last season, 2012/2013 it was well documented hanging out the whole winter. So now a barred owl is back…the same owl…my guess would be most likely. It can pose a danger to the screech owls but so far they have fared ok vs. the near by barred. I had no inclination that it was around until this sighting. I guess it is nice to see it around, but truthful I was hoping not too find one so close this year.
I am flattered that my Saw-Whet owl imitation is garnering responses. I am 2 for 2 for serious outings vs. response, but the first time was early am, and I received different call back than I tooted, more similar to the ‘winter vocalizations’ according to cornell I never did get a visual the first time but I am pretty confident it was indeed a saw-whet.
The second time was today, I had some time after work to try a quick evening hunt. I like evening hunts as sometimes there is still enough light out to do some fun owl watching. I started just early enough to get some scolding by a carolina wren. I continued on my walk as it was getting darker I headed back. As I circled back, (about 5-10 minutes had passed) lo and behold an owl was tooting, presumably from my earlier attempts. So here is the scolding carolina wren(with flash) and a saw-whet silhouette, hand held photo. Photos were taken about 20 minutes apart.
No points to the owl challenge though, as attracting with imitation especially alone doesn’t count.
After taking a hiatus during last years nesting season, (it had been used as a consistent nesting site, but last year it did not seem like nesting occurred here) Site 5 is back to being active.
We have an owl in the house as of today, 11/8, at 10am. Yay!