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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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Just a Pair of Hawks

Site 2

What is nice, was that it was a pair of Red-Shouldered Hawks, They may have been just passing through, but hopefully they will stick around. No Screech owls, but some activity to summarize since its been a long time since a update here. Barred owls were around all summer and fall and heard almost daily even during the day. But since the cold weather has moved in, its been tough to say if they are still around since its harder to hear them.
Also the leucistic hawk was seen briefly a couple times in January 2014. So brief though that no photo documentation was taken.

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Back to Gray

Site 3

So it seems the Red phase that showed up briefly back in October was just passing through, likely got driven out of the resident pair of gray phase owls. These are tough to get a handle on, but I am almost sure that I have seen both the male and the female through the winter. This pair seems exceptionally shy as they are tough to get documentation. Luckily my wife got one of what appears to be the same female as last year.

Taken 2/25/14
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Compare to the female from 3/24/13
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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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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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