Sunday, March 7, 2010

A Three Owl Day

Wow! What an exciting day (from a birder's perspective). It started with a call from birding friends Carol and Paul accepting my invitation to come see our Barn Owl fly out of the loft in the morning, as it does each day when I go up to feed hay. As soon as she starts laying eggs, she'll stop flying out so... they decided to come this morning. The owl performed well for them but the Wrentits did not. For years, our farm has been the only known location of Wrentits in Yamhill County but they have not sounded off or appeared since early fall. Paul does a wonderful Wrentit imitation but he could not call them up here. He did find some juvenile Red Crossbills right outside the barn, closer than I normally see them here.

Shortly after Paul and Carol left, Carol called to say Paul had brought a Wrentit out of the bushes a short distance up the road from us. Not long after that, he enticed a Pygmy Owl to come into view. They offered to come pick me up and take me to the owl, not even a mile away from our farm, and I readily accepted! Paul, with his amazing Pygmy Owl voice, called it out for me to see and get some distant photos (small bird on tall tree). Then he called up the Wrentits again... two different pairs! A flock of Evening Grosbeaks landed on nearby trees to add their color to the show. Wow!

After Paul and Carol dropped me off at home again and left, I called friend Marilyn and told her of the Pygmy Owl and Wrentit and she drove right out to see them. With her IPod, she managed to entice the Pygmy Owl to answer, but it did not come into view for us. Her IPod talked to the Wrentits and one of those did appear, to Marilyn's delight.

Johnny and I talked Marilyn into staying until dark to see the Saw-whet Owl in the Wood Duck nest box but it did not appear while she was here. The Barn Owl was more cooperative, flying out of the loft when I turned the light on and went up the ladder. With Johnny outside shining the bright spotlight on the exit hole, Marilyn had a good view of the owl as it flew. I'll bet that bird wishes I didn't have to feed goats twice a day.

At 9:30 p.m., I heard the Saw-whet Owl calling from in front of the barn. I dashed outside and aimed my flashlight on the nest box hole. There it was with two eyes shining red. I guess it doesn't wake up until 9:30 at night.

There was non-bird excitement here today, too, in the form of a burned out hot water heater. Johnny had been smelling something weird for a couple of days and finally discovered a blackened area on the heater, plus only lukewarm water from the tap this evening. So tonight I'll have a lukewarm sponge bath instead of a shower, but even that can't dampen the thrill of a three owl day.

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