Owl Diary: Wednesday 1/16

Yesterday’s rain showers, as I found out in my visit, didn’t impress these birds. Both Burrowing Owls sat out in full exposure and soaked it up. But that was yesterday. Today, showers turned into a deluge. Almost nonstop heavy rains from mid-morning on. I timed my visit to the park to coincide with the nadir of the low tide and the promised peak of the downpour, around mid-afternoon.

This is Off Topic, but a side purpose of my trip was to see whether the advertised flash floods would materialize in Schoolhouse Creek. To get there required a detour around a formidable puddle on the Virginia Street Extension.

Puddle on Virginia Street Extension

As for flash floods, not while I was there, but creek water was definitely pouring out of the big culvert. Usually the water seems quiet there. I also wanted to see whether birds would come out in the storm and work the mud of the creek delta at low tide. Yes. A flock of sandpipers ignored the rain and wind and pecked at the mud in their usual sewing-machine cadence.

As for owls, the surface around the area stood saturated and lined with puddles.

Ground at owl preserve saturated and path lined with puddles

Not a feather of an owl was to be seen, east or north. Obviously, even rain-loving birds have their limits. I have a picture in my mind (unfortunately only there) of the owls snug in a cavern dug by the ground squirrels. These clever burrowing architects no doubt built a drain that diverted rainwater and left the lofty cavern high, dry, and lined with fur.

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