Last Minute Barred Owl Walk

Sunday, December. 9, 2012

9:00AM- 12:00PM

   After seeing Barred Owls this week, I thought it would be fun if we all got to see it. The weather prediction for the weekend was terrible, showers both days. On Saturday morning I realized there would be a window of opportunity with no rain, so I figured I would give it a shot. I sent out an email on really late notice and hoped for the best.

  Actually the weather wasn’t good, but it wasn’t raining. It was raw and cold when the wind blew. Some of us didn’t think it would be cold and didn’t put on our woolies.

  After we met, we set out looking for the owl. We spread out and searched our first venue. In five minutes Billy found the owl in the open, on the end of a broken stump. Technically, the walk was over. It was billed as a Barred Owl walk and we achieved our goal.

However, we kept birding and made it over to the bay where we watched

Horned Grebes, American Black Ducks, Bufflehead, Hooded and Red-breasted Mergansers, Brant and Mallards.

   At Orchard Beach we spotted a Great Blue Heron flyover and there were two Great Egrets as well. As we made our way, we found a second Barred Owl. The rest of the walk was pleasant with many common winter passerines. We were shocked by the amount of huge downed trees in the park. In addition, the water level from Sandy left plastic garbage bags hanging all over the trees. There are thousands of plastic bottles littering the area, apparently flushed in with the storm. Huge amounts of debris littered the trail. It began to drizzle as we made our way back by noon. It was a satisfying walk and we went home ready for lunch.

Species Account

Barred Owl 2

Horned Grebe 4

American Black Duck 14

Bufflehead 22

Mallard 12

Hooded Mergansers 4

GreatBlue Heron

Great Egret 2

Tufted Titmouse 13

American Goldfinch 6

White- throated Sparrow 4

Red-bellied Woodpecker 2

Blue Jay 4

Brant (approx. 300)

Red-breasted Merganser  4

American Robin 2

Black-capped Chickadee 6

Downy Woodpecker 3

Dark-eyed Junco 1

Mute Swan 1

Canada Goose 150

Here we are looking at our first Barred Owl, later on, we found another.

Photographing the owl was difficult. There was little light as the sky was overcast and the trees blocked whatever light was available. Surprisingly, this owl was not spooked by our presence. There were 12 of us and although we tried to be quiet, I’m sure we disturbed his tranquility.

His eyes opened for a short while as we watched him but he seemed unfazed by our presence. In contrast, the second Barred owl we saw flushed to a nearby tree.

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