barred owl

Strange ‘Normal’

Site 1 (near by)

Looks like a great horned owl has moved in a least for the day.  Very close to  where the barred owl in the last post had been roosting, and its not the first winter here that both great horned and barred owls have been using these urban woods to spend the winter. I am a bit confused as to why these urban woods are so ‘owly’ but it won’t stop me from enjoying it while it last. (No points for these owls towards the challenge.)

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2 Barred Day: Challenge Check-in

So my wife was ahead in points 2-0 leading up today, both of her points were from snowy owls at the beach.  I have already reported on the first snowy owl point. The second snowy owl point we actually saw 2 snowies in total that morning back on December 15th. But only one of them counted towards the challenge because the first snowy owl of the morning was actually pointed out by a reservation staff.  The second snowy owl was indeed a good point for my wife as no one else was around and it was sitting on top of a dune.  P1100497
above first owl pointed out by staff= no point
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1 point owl(wife) much further down beach on top of dune, both from Dec 15th.

Fast forward until today as it has been fairly quiet recently in the owl sightings.  We took a family walk along some local horse trails as we were coming to a smallish field. We all noticed horses up ahead with their riders enjoying the mild weather and practicing their riding technique. Anyway, I had to make sure our dog (which we normally leave at home) was secure on the leash and made sure I would be the one in control as we walked by the horses. Since I was being distracted with the kids, dog and horses, my wife sneakily found and pointed out a roosting Barred Owl.  Now at that time I was down 3 points to zero.  Thats a tough deficit to overcome. But I will keep fighting to the end… On the drive home I was able to spot an actively hunting Barred Owl that was fairly close to the road and was able to use the car as a blind of sorts. Phew, I at least won’t get skunked this year owl-point wise. So as it stands now the score is: wife 3 points to 1 point, me.

P1110306 roosting barred owl.
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roadside hunting barred owl.

More Owls Still No Points

…for me. I have seen a couple more barred owls, one by myself on a walk the other more frustrating one on a family walk. I saw it flying and land still over 100 feet away. I got my camera out and had it in the sight but the focus was off, instead of snapping a picture, I went for the re-focus, but it flew away and all I was left with was some pictures of empty blurry branches! Alas no one else saw it so no point! Today I did find a great horned on a lunch walk, which is a given no point, but it was fun to find regardless. I don’t think it is the same one as last year with an eye wound, but it was in the same area. If it is the same one as last year the injury healed well.

great horned owl roosting some 50-60 feet up in a pitch pine
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Owling Challenge Last and This Years

Last years Owling Challenge between my wife and me ended in a tie, it was 3 to 3 going into mid winter, then the snows just kept going and it wasn’t really possible to walk with a 3 foot plus snow pack for the rest of the winter.

This years Owling Challenge has started and so far neither of us has earned a point. I have seen 2 owls in the last 3 days, first was a barred owl that the flew across the road as I was driving our kids home from school, alas no photo, no one else saw it, or so they say (they may be in the tank for their mom) so NO point. Then today it was a great horned owl I found (with the help of some blue jays and other irritated song birds) as I took a quick stroll at some trails that are right on my way home from work. But since I was alone, the strict judging criteria of the challenge means NO point. But I did get a quick shot in the fading light.
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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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