Unlike the Burrowing Owls first seen on October 3, October 9, and October 16, all of which went elsewhere after a day or two, the owl first seen on October 21 (“Number Four”) was seen again this morning, October 26, setting a longevity record for the season.
This bird has made its home, at least for now, on a rock behind a dense screen of fennel at the edge of the water on the north sides of the park, approximately even with the first Barn Owl box that sits about 200 yards west and outside of the fenced Burrowing Owl area. About twenty-five yards separate the owl’s spot from the paved perimeter trail.
When I approached its rock this morning, the owl saw me before I saw it, and hopped off its stone into a crevice in the rip-rap below, out of my sight. Based on my experience with this bird, I set up my camera and waited silently. Within a minute, the owl hopped into view on a stone below its home rock, and paid me little attention. In another minute, it hopped back onto its main rock, and remained there for the half hour duration of my stay. I set my camera on remote control via cellphone and sat down on a rock out of the bird’s sight.
The owl appeared alert, swiveling its head to check out matters of interest. It did not display alarm. Apart from a bit of preening and scratching and shifting legs , it took no actions. A ground squirrel dashed past the bird’s stone without provoking a reaction.
Another Burrowing Owl Docent, Rachel S., saw a second owl in this same area on October 24. That second owl would be No. 5 for the year. I did not see the No. 5 owl this morning but will keep trying.