Owl Returns

First Owl before sunrise on December 11 2021 (Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia)

The First Owl (the one first discovered on November 2) perched in its usual place again this morning (Tuesday Dec. 14) , now that the weekend rainstorm was over. It had disappeared from view since around midday on Sunday. Where it went is unknown, but it probably found a dry cave among the big rocks where it has settled. Here is a photo taken this morning:

First Owl at 8:33 a.m. on Tuesday Dec. 14 2021 (Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia)

The video above was taken on Saturday December 11, when I was able to see and film the bird in the quarter hour before the sun climbed over the East Bay Hills and painted the scene in gold. The bird appeared wide awake and vigilant without being anxious. I’ve edited the shots to highlight moments when the bird is looking in the direction of the camera, more than 100 yards distant; but in unedited reality the bird paid the camera and its operator very slight attention. The highlight of this feature is a sequence where the bird explosively relieves itself and then has a nibble on the foot that it keeps tucked away in its breast feathers. That business done, the bird has a bit of a snooze, but only for half a minute. These owls have refined the cat-nap to a high art; they can catch winks in seconds.

As I’ve said several times previously, this owl cannot be seen from the paved perimeter walkway. You have to step over the fence into the Open Circle Viewpoint and you need powerful optics to see the bird perching more than the length of a football field away to the north. It would be good if Park management were to move the fence a bit northward to permit human access to this premium bird watching spot.

The Second Owl remained in its usual place in plain view of park visitors. It seemed no worse for wear after the storm. I took a closeup at a moment when the bird gazed in my general direction:

Second Owl at 8:44 a.m. on Tuesday Dec. 14 2021 (Burrowing Owl, Athene cunicularia)

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