Saturday, January 26, 2008

OWLS and CROSSED BILLS

It has been a busy, but fantastic 22 hours. I went Friday evening for the sunset showing of "SHORT EARED OWLS flying with NORTHERN HARRIERS," in Northern Carroll County, MD. I laughed. I cried. I could see it again and again! It was well worth the hour and half drive. It was so far from Annapolis, that I could see skiers on Ski Rountop in my scope!

At close range, watching SHORT EARED OWLS fly low and quiet over the fields is awe-inspiring. And to witness their aerial engagements and acrobatics with the Harriers, well that is entirely something else!

I did manage to get lost on the way home, adding an extra hour to my trip home. (Sorry Emery!) Yeah, I knew I was causing some trouble for my friends and lovely wife when I saw a "Welcome to Pennsylvania!" sign. Argh!

This morning, after changing Declan, eating breakfast, drinking coffee and cleaning the house, I decided to go and see a NORTHERN SAW WHET OWL (NSWO) that has been roosting in Rockville. On the way over, there was a ton of traffic on the DC Beltway. Imagine that? So while I was parked on 495, I pulled out the iPhone and checked MDOSPREY for the latest bird sightings. Apparently, the WHITE WINGED CROSSBILL that was a regular in December, had reappeared to a back porch in Silver Spring near the Sligo Creek Parkway.

Noah, the homeowner, had posted at 11:30 AM. Lucky for me, I was stuck in traffic at the Silver Spring exit. It was now 12:30, so I figured that the bird had long since left Noah's feeders. Rather than go nowhere fast on the beltway, I changed course and decided to search for the elusive WHITE WINGED CROSSBILL.

LOOK LEFT

LOOK RIGHT

FLY DOWN TO THE SOCK FEEDER!

Got it! Eating on the feeders from the time of my arrival until when I left nearly 45 minutes later. Now... if only I had any skills as a photographer! Since I don't, and the sun didn't shine on those thistle sock feeders for more that two minutes, you'll have to just deal with these images. But know that I am learning. Bills don't get crossed in a day!Traffic let up a bit after that and I made my way over to Rockville for the NSWO.

For over twenty minutes, I walked all around that tree where the owl has been roosting... looking and looking and looking. Nothing! All of the sudden I hear, "PLOP." There, on the ground before me lay a freshly deposited OWL PELLET (amidst all of the other goodies that this cute little owl had been leaving as a sign of it's presence).

A NORTHERN SAW WHET OWL PELLET

A NORTHERN SAW WHET OWL

Again, I stink at photos. I could've touched the owl it was so close, but I used a zoom and stayed far away so as not to disturb the beast. Go ahead, try and make heads of tails of this owl... I can't!

If you really want to see this owl (and you know you do), visit Warren & Lisa's Blog!

Good Birding,

Dan

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