The Burrowing Owl seems to have declared December 25 a day off. It could not be seen in either Perch A or Perch B. This was a disappointment to numbers of park visitors out for a Christmas morning walk. However, there were consolation prizes, at least if one dared to venture out to the Open Circle Viewpoint. From this vantage point, I saw six Snowy Egrets huddled in the rocks almost directly below the spot that the owl occupies when in “Perch A.” It looks like they spent the night together in this sheltered spot. They were slowly awakening, doing a bit of morning preening. I’ve never seen Snowy Egrets all huddled together for the night, and I’ve never seen any Snowy Egrets sleeping on the eastern shore of the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary. They were not alone. A Willet had already woken up and was foraging. Then a little flash of brightness caught my eye. A young Spotted Sandpiper, showing no spots at this season, was hard at work cruising the water’s edge, picking at protein edibles in the seagrass. Outlined against the green and the gray, the bird made a pretty picture. And I haven’t shared my pictures of the American Coot, the Double-crested Cormorant, and the Scaup that cruised in the water nearby. So, although it was sad not to see the Burrowing Owl this morning, the owl’s habitat was rich in other avian gifts.
It’s a shame that the misguided routing of the “art” fence in this area keeps the general public from accessing the Open Circle Viewpoint, where these sights could be seen.