Sunday, June 07, 2009

Calm after the storm

Last night we had some strong thunderstorms moving through the area. That put a bit of a damper on the bar-b-que we were attending at a friends house. It was moved inside and the food was excellent.

Doug had mentioned that last week a group of owls invaded his back yard. As far as we could tell from his description, they were Northern Saw-whet Owls (Aegolius acadicus). Last night at a little past 9pm, we could hear them outside. We went into the backyard and found we were surrounded by owls! Two in this tree, one on the fence, one on the power line, and another in the next tree. They were all chattering to each other and fairly oblivious to our presence. They appeared to be recent fledglings that were begging for food. It was a very cool experience.

This morning Karyn and I went on our local hike through the foothills looking for birds. It was a great day. We saw a lt of the usual species - American Robins, Yellow Warblers, Black-headed Grosbeaks, Bank Swallows, American Kestrels, Red-tailed Hawks, California Quail, Northern Flickers, etc. The Bullock's Orioles were out and very visible with their bright colors.

Bullock's Oriole.

We checked out the Cooper's Hawk nest. The chicks were not visible. The female kept a watchful eye, with the male in a tree nearby. They have at least two chicks in the nest, but we wouldn't see them today. We did get a great view of the Yellow-breasted Chat for the first time this year. They are usually i this area every year. The Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) have been absent as of late, but they were back today. We could only find two of the three chicks which had fledged, and one of the adults. We hope the other fledgling is alive and safe.

Great Horned Owl Fledgling.

Continuing the hike we found a Downy Woodpecker, an American Robin on a nest, and another Robin nest full of 4 large chicks. In the lower pond the Pied-billed Grebe was out feeding a chick. Only one. I wonder if that is all she has.

Pied-billed Grebe.


Dan Huber said...

Very nice, found ya thru chirptracker. great pics

Dawn Fine said...

Very cool owl experience! Looks like you had a nice birding Hike!