great horned 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.)

p1160518
Advertisements

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
P1100432

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.
P1100098

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
DSCF7226

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.
P1040256 (1)

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.
P1050834 (1)

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.

P1050810

female screech owl safe and sound for the day in the box
P1050820 (1)

Out with the Barred, In with the Great Horned

Site 1

I haven’t seen the pair of barred owl that were near by in over a month. My thinking was that they decided to head back to a better breeding territory. Today when checking one of the frequently used (previously) roost, voila an owl, but it became quickly apparent that it wasn’t a barred, it was a great horned, in the exact spot a (the first) barred had used for the first 2/3 of winter. However, it decided to flush the moment I stopped walking (I was on a sidewalk). The crows had a field day, and the owl imbedded itself into a nearby white cedar. Lots of danger and competition for the near by screech owls around every corner! Who knows if it will stick around.

great horned seeking cover.
P1010099

Long Overdue 2013 Wrap up

This should have been done 4-5 months ago…good to get caught up.
If 2012 was a’down’ year, This year was a really down years compared to previous.
As Site 1 failed to fledge 2 owlets that died in box.

Site 1
Massachusetts
Screech Owls,
Male=red phased
Female=gray phased
First Egg: begining of march
# of Eggs……………..at least 2
First Hatch: ?
# Hatched…………….2
Fledged ……………….0 (both owlets died in box)

Site 2
Massachusetts
No screech owls…It seems a Pair of Barred Owl have moved in near by as they were heard regularly through the spring, summer and fall, even in the day. Oh and the leucistic red-tailed hawk was last seen 12/29/2013.

Site 3
Massachusetts
Screech Owls,Lost the red phased female (seen october 2012), replaced by a gray phase female
Male=gray phased (confirmed 2011)
Female=gray phased (new for 2013 nesting)
First Egg: end of march/early april
# of Eggs ………….3
# Hatched………… 3
Fledged……………. 3
(a day or 2 after June 2, 2013)

Site 4

Massachusetts
No screech owls

Site 5
Maryland may not have nested for 2013
Screech Owls,
Male= ?
Female=red phased
First Egg ???
# of Eggs…………. ??
First Hatch ???
# Hatched ………… ??
Fledged …………….??

Site 6
Massachusetts
No screech owls, great horned owl(s) still heard occ.

Site 7
Massachusetts
no screech owls

Site 8
Massachusetts
Screech Owls, at least 2,
did not nest at site 8, but nested near by with 4 owlets observed to have fledge!
Male= Gray phased (browner)
Female=Gray phased

Site 9
Massachusetts
Owners moved, site to be relocated: no screech owls seen, barred owls heard frequently.

2013 Totals:
screech owl eggs ……5 +
screech owl fledged…..3 + 4 fledged near (but off) site 8

Eagles Galore

Not often you have 6+ bald eagles with-in 10 minutes of our house, so an easy time to take a look at them. they were still ~200 yards away on a mostly frozen Wenham Lake (they were first reported Jan 4th 2013) and even appeared in some local papers, before we had the time to look for them, but had fun watching for awhile on cedar st. with a couple of other people. A total of 6 were seen at any one time, but I think there has been reports of more.

DSCF7076
and its becoming an family owl challenge as my daughter gets a point for following a flushed barred owl, and my son get a point for first hearing a pair of duetting great horned owls both at appleton farms yesterday afternoon/evenings on a family walk.