Wednesday, February 01, 2012

3 (should have been 4) owl day

Decided to head out into the Onion Fields once again this afternoon after a text from Marianne that Bob Cermak had a reliable spot for a Long-eared Owl. Although I was in the middle of watching a small claims court show while eating pretzels (I can do what I want on my days off, thank you bery buch!), I thought...ah heck, I better not miss this one now when I've got the chance. So I hopped into the ol' Ford Windstar (Silver Bullet by nickname after speeding 130km/hr in it to get a Ruff once) and headed out (but was able to pick up a DVD copy of The Big Year along the way...multi-tasking).

Sure enough, after running into Bob and having him show me the tree the bird was in, as well as showing me the bird itself, I saw the bird! Long-eared 2012 - tick. They are such neat birds, described by me as having a permanent shocked expression. They're really just a miniature version of a Great Horned Owl if you had to simplify. We tried around for redpolls (possible Hoary redpoll had been reported the week before) but w/ no luck. However, I did get an interesting mixed flock of blackbirds and starlings. There were hundreds of Brown-headed Cowbirds, hundreds of European Starlings, a handful of Rusty Blackbirds and Common Grackles, and only a few Red-winged Blackbirds.

Later I met up w/ Sarah Rupert to go owling again in the fields for Snowy Owl. I had got a couple in 2011 when I was down for the holidays but I hadn't got one for my 2012 year list and I knew this was my best chance. So after a short drive, we ended up seeing a solitary bird next to Killdeer Rd. To finish off the night, we headed into Pelee with the sun falling fast and looked for Great Horned Owl. Sure enough, near the stump where the species nests each spring, we had a single bird (pretty much just its silhouette by that point). Didn't catch up to any Eastern Screech Owls today but seeing as I got two yesterday, I can't complain.

A decent afternoon. Wish I could stay in Pelee for longer but I return to Toronto tomorrow, where I'm sure some good birds will be showing up soon.

Once I get out a few more times and get enough species as to not be embarrassed by my current list, I'll put an update on here on my 2012 year list progress.

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