Sunday, December 30, 2012
Off-road Owl Encounter
It was another cold day this morning at the park with temps around 13 degrees when I arrived. At least the sun was out though today, and as long as the sun is out I'm willing to put up with the cold. Not too far into my walk I ran into a friend and we shared recent bird sighting stories -mostly on his behalf as my own outings have just been so uneventful as of late. I've been hearing reports of Long-eared Owls, Screech Owls and even a Northern Saw-whet Owl this winter (not all at Palmer Lake Park), but I've not been lucky enough to see any of those species yet with my own eyes. After our conversation I just went on with my walk feeling rather skunked. Other than the occasional Shrike sighting, I've not seen a whole lot of interest -especially for all the time I've been putting in. If you go by my blog posts alone you wouldn't think I've been out that much when in fact I've been out to the park probably twice as often. I have a backlog of posts from September thru December of this year that to be honest are hardly worth sharing. It was always my intention with this blog to make a post out of each and every single visit to the park -so I do still intend to go back and add them but I am way behind now. Today I decided to walk out onto the ice a ways just on the off chance that I might scare up a Coyote or something but even that proved unsuccessful. On the north side I somehow found myself off the path yet again hiking out near the edge of the woods. It was there that I spooked an Owl who flew out right in front of me and landed in the next tree ahead. I'd not even seen it there in the thick Buckthorn tree until it moved but then I finally had a great opportunity to see him in the daylight. It was a Barred Owl and they are always kind of fun to see. The snow was kind of hard and crunchy so I tried to be as quiet as possible as I rounded the patch of Buckthorn where he was originally perched. When I got around them he was still there and I was able to watch him for a while. It is funny when other birds flew overhead to see him look up and pan his head across the sky. I felt a little bit like a real wildlife photographer in that short moment as only I was getting to witness this sight, kneeling in the snow to steady my camera. It was just enough to rejuvenate me and make me anxious to visit the park again soon.