The owl that was first spotted on Nov. 4 has moved to a new perch. It’s repeated the move that the “First Owl” of last year made last December 20 in that it now occupies a spot on the rip-rap embankment below a big Fennel bush further south. In this new spot, you can sometimes easily see at least its head from the paved path outside the “art” fence. That’s the photograph above. But after a bit of time at this spot, the bird moved just a few inches further down, and there you had to be a very tall human to see its head. I set up my tripod to its full height, attached a field screen, and was able to show live images of the bird’s head to a number of park visitors, some of whom were seeing a Burrowing Owl for the first time.
One of the visitors seeing her first Western Burrowing Owl was Kristina Vagos, a professional wildlife biologist on vacation from Connecticut. She had seen the eastern subspecies in Florida and in some South American cities. Kristina was an excellent spotter; she spotted a Western Meadowlark and a Yellow-rumped Warbler just outside the Burrowing Owl Sanctuary; photos below. We also saw a Savannah Sparrow that looked annoyed at the Burrowing Owl. A student from Georgia who studied wildlife biology as an undergraduate was among other park visitors delighted to see the owl.
If the bird is still in this spot on the weekend, I plan to set up my viewing gear and give park visitors a chance to see this rare and beloved bird as long as my batteries hold out.