Monday, December 27, 2010

A Pre-Blizzard Walk

After securing the boat with extra dock lines, I had a few moments this morning to take a walk in the woods, before the snow started in earnest.
I stopped by a nearby patch of evergreens, to see if these trees were holding any owls, since there has been a number of of Saw-whet and Long-eared Owls, reported thoughout the area recently

It was nice to get lucky this morning, as it took little time to happen upon this Long-eared Owl, perched very much in the open in a spruce tree.

Generally, instead of looking in trees for owls, it is easier to look on the ground for signs that they are around.
In the above picture, the white wash on the ground is bird guano, in this case Saw-whet owl waste.

Owl pellets are another sure sign that they are in the area. 
These are  usually tightly wrapped grey fur balls, that owls will regurgitate after their meal is digested. 
Pellets are the undigestable body parts, (fur, bones) that are left from the owls catch, which can be anything from a mouse, squirrel, to other small rodents, mammals and birds.

Looking above the ground at eyeball height, there is more wash.
This time on the branches, this is where your heart may start pounding, because as you look a little higher in the tree...

...You might see one of these little darlings staring back at you,
the Northern Saw-whet Owl.
Although a few nest in the State, this bird is more of a wanderer or migrant in this area, with most birds being found from late Autumn to early Spring, the same hold true for the Long-eared Owls. 

These are small birds, only eight inches tall, that's smaller than a Robin, a hard find as they blend into their environment and the backround of trees, branches, leaves, vines, cones and more.

The Great Horned Owl is a resident in this area, and are often the most common owl found.
They are large, about twenty-two inches, although they also conceal themselves very well, their size makes them a bit easier to find.
Their prey is also much larger then that of the smaller owls, skunks are on their diet, so if your in a stand of evergreens and you get a whiff of Pepe La Pew, look up, something may be staring back at you.
Other resident owls we have in Connecticut are Barred Owls, Eastern Screech Owls and a handful of Barn Owls.
I didn't see any of them today, although a few may have seen me.

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