The deluge of the past two days calmed around mid-day. By 2 p.m. I was able to get to the park to see how the owls had survived. They are not prisoners, after all. If two minor earthquakes, a bit of thunder, and buckets of rain were too much for them, they could fly to San Diego.
Photographer Phil Rowntree saw the east owl up near the slab with the white spot at around 11 a.m. By the time of my visit, the east owl had retreated to its niche in the rip-rap, invisible from outside the fence. I first saw it there on December 6, and many times thereafter. This spot behind a rock and under an awning of dead brush has served the east owl more frequently and consistently than any other site.
When I first approached the site of the north owl, it was not there. I cautiously made my way down to the water’s edge to see if the bird were visible nearby. Nothing. I retreated to my vantage point up by the paved trail and waited. Sometimes in the past, the bird had arrived as I waited, as if it did not want to miss its photo appointment. That was the case today. In just a few minutes, the bird appeared on its usual rock, and held that position for the duration of my visit. A lone park visitor — there were not many — accepted my invitation to look, and expressed delight at finally seeing an owl. “I’ve come by here so many times and never seen one before!” The north owl, much more consistent in its habits than the east owl, has been the First Owl for numerous park visitors.