When I first passed the area at a minute past 8 a.m., I scanned the spot carefully and saw nothing but iceplant, weeds, and asphalt. I went on westward, checking for owls along the rip-rap as far as the first promontory. Nothing. I retraced my route, and just to be thorough, scanned the spot next to the iceplant again, almost exactly half an hour later And there, thanks to the great zoom on my lens, I made out the top of the head of this Burrowing Owl, peering just high enough to clear its big eyes. There is a rabbit hole there. It is considerably bigger than a ground squirrel hole. It goes under the asphalt pavement. That’s where this owl made its stand. Undoubtedly, this is also where the two previous Burrowing Owls stood who have been sighted in this location, on November 24-25, and previously on November 11.
If it weren’t for its eyes, this bird would have been close to invisible. Here’s a snapshot, below, where the bird turned its head sideways and a piece of iceplant almost covers its left eye. Unless you already know what you’re looking for, and have sharp eyes, you’re going to miss this bird. Why was this bird hunkering down so low? The temperature in the low 40s and the nippy east wind might have had something to do with it. Only a few hardy runners and hard-core walkers braved the elements.