Saturday, December 15, 2012

Tree Blob

It is verboten in the birding world to reveal the locations of roosting owls except among trusted friends, for fear of too many visitors disturbing the birds. But some spots become well known in the community and Patty and I visited one such "secret, well known place" in search of long-eared owls known to be roosting there.

And we found an owl. But it wasn't the owl we expected.

We first spotted it from the trail, looking into the sun. I thought it was an olds wasp's nest. But upon further review it was an owl. But what kind? It was hard to see, high up and tucked into the branches. This is the only usable shot I managed to take. Our first thought was northern saw-whet owl, but having recently been owl banding this bird seemed to large to be a saw-whet, thus we tentatively identified it as a barred owl. I sent this image out asking for an ID, and everyone answered saw-whet. So saw-whet it is. And while I've seen saw-whets in the wild, this it s the first one I found.


After hunting a bit more for owls and finding no others, we retreated to the visitor's center behind which is a bird blind overlooking some feeders. The birds were much easier to view, and ID, and we snapped away.

Female house finch above, male below.

American gold finch.

Male northern-cardinal.

Tufted titmouse.


These are the usual suspects found at feeders in the winter. There is a small pond next to the feeders so occasionally you'll get one of these wandering about, a female mallard.

And where there are feeder birds there are birds the feed on them ...

This cooper's hawk flew in and everyone else flew out.

Yep, show's over. Time to leave.


So we retreated into the visitors center and warmed up by the wood burning stove. It was a nice morning, but Patty's still never seen a long-eared owl in the wild. We'll just have to keep searching.