Owl Day Three

I got a late start this morning. As I walked up the east side of the park, no fewer than three people stopped me to say they just saw the owl standing tall outside its burrow on the north side. I expected I would have an easy time taking photos and video. Ha! By the time I got there, the only creature standing tall in the owl’s spot was a ground squirrel. I must have spent half an hour systematically scanning the area from side to side with the camera at maximum zoom, like the electron beam in an old cathode ray tube, before I finally spotted the bird. It had taken refuge behind the base of a cluster of tall dead weeds, just a foot or two west of the shallow gravel mound where it perched yesterday and the day before. It was awesomely well concealed from the ground and from the air.

As I did yesterday, after getting the owl in the frame and focused, I let the camera run on its tripod while I went and checked out the shoreline north of the path, where most of last year’s owls perched on rocks sheltered by fennel. This year the rocks have no vegetation cover surrounding them. I saw no owls there. (I did get some good images of Surf Scoters in the water nearby.) When I got back to the camera, once again, as happened yesterday, the owl was no longer visible. Only when I got the video home was I able to see that it had walked screen left, lingered on the extreme left edge of the screen for a while, and then hunkered down into the grass and out of sight.

Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)

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