Sunday, September 9, 2007

Both Owls

I spent about 3 hours birding the neighborhood this morning. I did not find as many migrating songbirds as I did last weekend. There were a few Yellow Warblers and Wilson's Warblers around. I saw only 1 Baltimore Oriole and heard a single Summer Tanager. But I did get great looks at both of our neighborhood owls! Even though they live here year-round, seeing an owl is unusual, so seeing both species in one outing was exciting. I found this Great Horned Owl on the north bank of Lake Creek near the Amber Oaks drainage pond. I was walking upstream along the ridge between the tree line and the creek when I heard a Northern Mockingbird scolding. When I rounded a slight bend, I saw the mockingbird in the top of a tree and this owl below it. I took a few pictures and this one turned out best.

Later I was near the eastern edge of the flood plain property when I heard several Blue Jays and other birds scolding. Often Blue Jays make lots of noise for no obvious reason. But since there were some Northern Cardinals and Carolina Chickadees joining them, I thought they might be mobbing a predator. So I crept up on the group of birds and tried to judge where the activity was centered. Sure enough, right around the center of the group there was a gray Eastern Screech-Owl perched about 7 feet off the ground. I got too close and it flew off before I could try for a picture.

On the flood plain property I didn't see much progress on the hike and bike trail since last weekend. But near the end of Meadowheath I found this giant bridge! It looks like it's fully assembled and ready to be installed over the small tributary creek. Soon I won't have to slog through the tall grass and mud to get to the flood plain property; I'm so excited! A label on the bridge says it has a "vehicle load limit" of 5 tons. So even with Americans' average weights on the rise, this bridge should serve us well!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Wow, what a stunning picture of a Great Horned Owl! I think if I saw that on the neighborhood trail, or anywhere for that matter, I would just faint from overstimulation. Owls are one of my favorite birds.

And then a second sighting on the same trip. I am exceedingly jealous.

"So even with Americans' average weights on the rise, this bridge should serve us well!"

Haha. Wow, I hope we American's don't ever have an average weight of 5 tons.