Owl Diary: Monday 1/14

The east owl resolved its site ambivalence this morning with a compromise. It chose a new site part way down in the rip-rap, like its original site, yet very near the slab with the white spot, like its newer site. The new spot is behind and partly under the slab with the spot. The video below shows the location:

In this location, the bird is even more tucked away from human view than in its original site in the rip-rap. Standing in the Open Circle viewpoint and scanning at maximum zoom, I almost missed it entirely; but then a little brown bump caught my eye that looked suspiciously like it was moving. Paradoxically, the bird’s swiveling head, its primary means of detecting threats, is also the chief tell of its presence. Had the owl remained immobile I probably would have written off the bump as a rock. My grainy photo and video won’t win any beauty prizes but they do document that the bump was a bird.

The video shows, by the way, that the concrete slab with the white lichen spot on it, which looks upright when seen from outside the fence on the north side of the area, actually slants at about a 30 degree angle from the ground. Its underside might make a good rain shelter. The owl this morning, however, stood just outside its overhang. The sky was overcast and a few light sprinkles came down at the time I was there.

Meanwhile the north owl offered no comparable drama. Evidently recovered from yesterday’s Northern Harrier flyover, the bird stood in its habitual spot. Here is a short video:

On my way back to my car, I had the pleasure to meet Gerry Traucht, whose photos of egrets are among the most beautiful bird images I have ever seen; and some of them he shot right here. There are miracles of beauty very near, if we have the eyes and the patience to see them.

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