Owlet Walk

Sunday, April 13, 2014  8:30 AM

Pelham Bay Park

    With 70 degree weather predicted , I thought we might have a few more walkers than usual. I was correct but happy, our group was terrific, friendly and anxious to find the owls.

It wasn’t long before we spotted one adult Great Horned Owl flying to our right. I couldn’t see where it landed, but Maria saw exactly where it landed. It perched in a tangle not too far away. In a few minutes, everyone had good looks and were shooting away with their cameras. Then, another Great Horned flew nearby as well, obviously it’s mate. More great binocular views and photographs. The owl in the tangles remained perched and stayed on its spot after we left.

We then proceeded to the nest and found the fuzzy owlet peering out at us. There were more photo ops and on the way back we ran into Mom and Pop again. We also ran into a Red-bellied Woodpecker excavating a tree for a nest. We stopped a few minutes to watch the progress.

    On the way back to the parking lot much of the group peeled off, while about ten of us went down to Turtle Cove. Joe found the Red-headed Woodpecker, a gorgeous bird. We also saw an Eastern Kingbird, several Greater Yellowlegs, Red-tailed Hawk, Osprey, Flickers, Snowy Egrets and to our surprise, a Glossy Ibis. I hadn’t seen one down at Turtle Cove in a few years. By 12:30 everyone was ready for lunch and were happy with our terrific results.

Here we are, about 30 in number, assembling in the Orchard Beach parking lot. There was quite an array of optical equipment. The days of a pair of binoculars and a field guide seem long gone.

Here we are shlepping up the hill.

Photographing the owl up close calls for a really long lens. Owls love to sit in the tangles of a tree where they feel camouflaged. Too bad the lens can’t shoot through those tangles.

A dog walker was curious as to why there was a crowd of people. He was amazed as he looked at the scoped view.

Here we are about to leave. It wasn’t easy getting everyone to leave the owl nesting site. Everyone was quiet and respectful of the owls. We did our best to minimize stress.

I took this photo a few days before the walk. It was amazing to see yesterday that that the owlet had already lost some of its downy fuzz.

Here’s one of the adults. I took this photo in January.This is a very large bird, perched near its favorite tangles.

Species Account

Red-winged Blackbird

American Robin

Common Grackle

European Starling

Song Sparrow

Red-tailed Hawk


Mourning Dove

Blue Jay

Great Horned Owl

Eastern Kingbird

Greater Yellowlegs

Red-headed Woodpecker

Red-bellied Woodpecker


Black Duck


Northern Flicker

Snowy Egret

Canada Goose

American Goldfinch

Belted Kingfisher

Glossy Ibis

Ring-billed Gull

Herring Gull

In the middle of these Snowy Egrets is a Glossy Ibis. I haven’t seen one at Turtle Cove in a few years. I checked today, 4/14 and it was gone.

The Red-headed Woodpecker at Turtle Cove. This photo was taken in the fall of 2013.

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