FZ200 + E17ED

Fun Find

Site 1

The recent saw-whet owl was near by, but seemed to have only stayed in that roost for 1 day. I thought I had re-found it when I heard a cacophony of scolding nuthatches, chickadees,titmice,cardinals, and a single white-throated sparrow. Their ire was directed at small-mid sized well-foliated norway maple. Scanning the tree for the suspect owl, I finally got a glimpse of the culprit, but it wasn’t the saw-whet. It was a red phased screech owl. Most likely the same red phased owl that the box camera caught back on September 24th. The owl had not been back to the box since that day, but it would seem its still in the area, as the maple tree roost is about 700-800 feet away from the box.

red phased screech owl, through the only foliage window.
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First 2 Occupants of the Season

Site 1 and Site 3,

Just a bit early but had 2 boxes with screech owls spend the day on Sunday Sept 23rd, 2018.  This is the first Screech owl activity at Site 1 since April 2015. Hopefully the owl will stick around and set up a territory, and not just traveling through the area.  Based on the screen capture of the in box camera, it does look like a red phase.

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Site 3. Had an owl take up residence in July last year, this could be one of the pair last year, as they were a red phased pair (pretty sure).

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Back to the Good.

Site 3.

Looks like there are nesting owls here.  It has been tough to confirm this as the box had been very quiet through out March and April, and observations were sporadic. However,  it seems the young owlets are growing and the weather warming, which affords the mom some breaks to rest in the entrance.  I am pretty sure I heard the owlets, when the mom tucks back down to them as well.  She seems to be skittish/protective now that she is a mom, so she tucks back in quickly if observed too much.

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Owling Challenge: a ‘Pitcher’s Duel’

Last years owling challenge result, I won 2-0.
This year was off to a tense start with neither my wife nor myself able to pick up points, there were owls around, a good year for snowy owls too, but upon replay none qualified for points until yesterday. 1 point for a road side hunting barred owl for me. Found on my drive into work first thing in the morning. According to section 5: We have to be together for an owl to count as a point with the one exception being road side owls. Such as a new screech owl in hollow or a hunting owl. So this clearly qualifies. Anyway score is 1 to 0 in the bottom of the 7th.

No points for these owls as we were not together, seen earlier in the year
Barred owl:
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Long-eared owl:
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One challenge point for me for this road side barred owl:
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Site 6 Update: Confirmed Pair

Site 6:

Finally got a better picture, but it was after I got a phone through binocular (digi-binned) photo sent to me of a gray phase screech owl in the circle entrance box. This of course piqued my curiosity, in the last post there appeared to be a red phase in the circle entrance box…Anyway, I stopped by but there was nothing in the circle entrance…and here-in lies the benefit of ‘pairing’ boxes for screech owls…. There is a slot entrance box that was installed a year afterward(7.5 years ago) about 50-60 feet away. Sure enough the red phased owl was in the entrance. The owners had seen the gray phase in the circle entrance this morning. Somewhat interestingly, a few years after the slot box was installed and with no screech owl activity at all, the owners built a ‘luxury’ tree house utilizing 4 trees, one of which the slot box is attached too, as you can see in the photo. It will be interesting to see if this(kids in a tree house) has an effect on box choice?
digi-binned gray phase in circle entrance
site6 grey

red phase in slot box with tree house behind it.
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Pictoral ‘Ode’ to “the Giving Tree”

Site 1

On site 1 there was a large dead pitch pine on a point that seemed to recruit birds, especially raptors,herons and egrets, although last year flickers at least attempted to nest in the trunk.  I affectionately referred to it as “the giving tree.” Well here in northeast Massachusetts we are in the mist of another storm, but the last storm blew the decaying tree completely over so it will no longer attract birds…All good things….So here are some photos I have gotten of the variety of birds over the years that have perched on the tree. Merlins especially used the tree, so added a few more pics of them.  It was an amazing tree!

great blue heron

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red-tailed hawk
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osprey
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great egret
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imm. black-crowned night heron
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peregrine falcon
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american kestrel
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next 3. merlin
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coopers hawk
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Imm. bald eagle
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It Only Took 8.5 Years

Site 6

WOW! Nice to have this site active with at least one screech owl. According to my (b)log book this box went up Sept 2009. In fact it is one of the early prototypes that reclaimed and integrated red cedar on the front panel from a normal style box into the SQR type box.   A second box was added in the fall 2010 (slot).  When I first put these up I though it was fairly ideal habitat and that it wouldn’t take long. BUT…. there has been Great Horned Owls near by since the boxes went up and probably played a roll in the absence of Screech Owls at this site.  In fact I heard 2 Great Horned Owls (I think they were competing males, not a male female duet) with in a 1/4 mile of this site earlier in the winter.  Hopefully this is far enough away for a pair of Screech Owls to set up a territory.  Mean while, a screech owl was heard here in the early fall 2017, but never seen in a box until a few days ago. On Feb 26th 2018,  I thought I saw something in the entrance, but there wasn’t enough light to really confirm it, and I didn’t have a camera either.  I told the owners to keep an eye out but after a few days of nothing I was beginning to think I was just seeing or imagining things.  Then today 3/3/2018 my wife went by and confirmed there was an owl in the box.  I was only able to get the documentation photo at dusk in low light, as the owl seems very skittish.  I don’t fully trust the colors in low light photos but it does appear to be red phase.  Hopefully a better picture to come, as this was low shutter speed, hand held through a bay window.

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