Month: December 2014

Keeping Pace

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.

The first owl as it was first sighted
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Same owl as above, the trail did end up getting us a bit closer for a better photo .
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The second snowy owl in some harsh light and set back further from the trail
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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. P1050860 P1050893

The Roosting Tree

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.)

this photo was taken just about 2 years ago…2/12/13 barred owl notice almost the exact spot as the great horned owl
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Almost exactly a year ago…12/31/2013,a bit different angle, just off the main branch, on a side branch, the great horned owl below is on the thicker part that bisects the barred owl in this photo.
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The great horned owl likes the same roosting spot, although it seems the asian bittersweet is slowly choking out this evergreen (spruce I think) out.
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New Sheriff on Site

Site 1

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.

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female screech owl safe and sound for the day in the box
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Screech Owl Central

Site 8

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.

Good Morning,

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.

2014-12-04 roost grey Owl (5)wm 2014-12-04 red owl (1)

2 of the 3 owls. Great update, thank you!

Leucistic Hawk Appearance

Site 2

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

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