February birds cont’d
A majority of my February was spent obsessively looking for screech owls on Mt Tabor. I made about a dozen trips at various early-morning and late-night hours but all I could come up with is a lone Barred Owl calling early one the morning.
My search continues.
Outside my five mile radius, however at Oak’s Bottom I struck gold.
Or silver actually. While hiking, I happened to notice a slightly silver feather pattern peeking out of the side of a tree that I was about 85% sure was an owl. I was confident enough to return at sunset to see what happens after dark.
Right on cue just after sunset, a sleepy Western Screech Owl peeked its head out! It’s the first one I’ve found on my own. And only the third I’ve ever seen. The first was at this exact park (in a different tree) two years ago on a Birdathon trip. It’s quite possible this is the same owl, or that owl’s partner.
Minutes later as the sky darkened, the owl woke up and looked out further.
I had brought Tomas along with me and together we watched this incredible creature wake up and survey its surroundings. Not wanting to disturb it, we decided to leave before it exited the trunk.
Just as we turned around it flew out over our heads and perched on a low shrub nearby. It called it’s ping-pong call for a few minutes (and another owl nearby responded!) before it then darted into the darkness to hunt. We were ecstatic as we hiked out.
Then Tomas said – look!
It was right next to us along the trail! So tiny, about the size of a soda can. In the dark we could barely keep track as it flew down to the water, and we heard a splash as it caught something (a fish?), then we quickly lost track again. I felt incredibly lucky.
A daylight search on Mt Tabor turned up Fox Sparrow, Red-breasted Sapsucker, and Band-tailed Pigeon to add to my 5MR.
And on a trip to Broughton Beach I found Brewer’s Blackbird, Horned Grebe, Killdeer, and one early morning I was lucky to find a flock of Horned Lark.
Back at home one rainy day I birded from our bedroom window and managed to see an American Goldfinch hanging with the Lesser Goldfinch.
Sometimes it’s nice to bird from bed when it’s so dreary outside.
From the window I also saw a rare sight of two Anna’s Hummingbirds at the feeder at once. That never happens.
And did I mention my Townsend’s Warbler is back?
They sure do make these rainy days brighter.
Lights me up every time. Hope things dry out soon! Marching on to spring…
Tweets and chirps,
Townsend’s at the Feeder WOW! Good going on finding the screech owl, They are sooo cute. I’ve only seen the eastern, but both grey and red phase. I need many owls on my life list.
If it were up to the owls we would never see them! They’re so sneaky.