The Ides of March and the Burrowing Owl is still here! At the time I visited, shortly before noon, the bird again, like yesterday, picked a spot deep in the grass where it could not be seen from the paved perimeter path. But I could get a good view from the dirt maintenance road that bisects the nature area. Due to high gusty winds, getting a decent video was impossible. Later I spoke with photographer Phil Rowntree, who told me that the owl emerged as the sun came out and the crown of its head could just be made out from the paved path.
By being present on March 15, this owl has beaten recent longevity records. The latest owl to leave last year left on March 11. The previous year, no owls were seen in the park at all. But owls in previous years stayed longer. According to the annual reports compiled by Audubon’s Noreen Weeden based on docent observations, in 2016, the last owl left on March 19. In 2014, on March 21. In 2013, again March 19, and in 2012 also March 21. So the current owl seems headed for those older longevity tallies.
Maybe, just maybe, Parks will install the boundary fence between the dog park and the protected nature area before the owl leaves. The City contract with Tri-City Fence Co. was signed in February and a Parks source indicated the work would be done in March. That fence will be helpful in curbing the numerous invasions by off-leash dogs (and their owners) into the protected nature area. A fence completely around the dog park would be even more helpful, but this is a start.