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January Owls in your corner of the world?

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Old Tuesday 28th January 2003, 22:31   #1
NE Birds Plus
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January Owls in your corner of the world?

January is a great time of year in New England for Owling. We see Snowy, Long-eared, Short-eared, Great-horned, Eastern Screech, Barred, Saw-whet, Boreal (rarely), and Barn Owls (in a few southern locations).

A half dozen Short-eared, at least 2 Long-eared and 2 Snowy Owls are currently being seen most windless days just north of my home town on the Parker River National Wildlife Refuge in Newburyport, MA - The Snowy Owls head north in the early spring with the Long & Short-eared dispersing to nest. Leaving us with rare glimpses of the Screech, Barred and Great-horned Owls the rest of the year.

I would be very interested to hear what others around the country and around the world are seeing for Owls now and throughout the year and when the best time for Owling comes about in your corner of the world. Please be sure to post your Owl photos as well.

Attached is a shot of 2 different Long-eared Owls taken on the 12th & 21st of January at the Salisbury Beach State Reservation and the Parker River NWR in Massachusetts. A Nikon Coolpix 995 attached to a Leica scope with a 20x eyepiece was used for both.
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Old Tuesday 28th January 2003, 22:35   #2
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Phil

Thanks very much for that. I especially like the one back lit by the sun. I love Owls yet never see them. Must try harder!
 
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Old Tuesday 28th January 2003, 22:50   #3
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Wow, I'm coming to Essex I have spent the last week intently looking for owls but to no avail. Beautiful shots Phil.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 01:54   #4
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Around here, we see great grey owls, great horned, northern hawk owls... these latter ones, we see quite a bit in open cuts. We'll see them during the day sitting right at the highest point of a tree, surveying the area for rodents.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 02:39   #5
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Phil. At present I have at least 3 Saw-Whet owls in my area (within 3 km). I usually hear them every night. How do they do that endless call is beyond me! There is also a pair of Great Horned owls in this area and they are courting at present. In January they start hooting around here and by March they have eggs. Pretty good for the type of weather we have (-32C) today. By early March it will still freeze overnight. Occasionally I'll see a Snowy hunting along the road, they are usually further south or much further north in the North West Territories. I could probably add a Boreal and a Great Gray to this list but I haven't been out on a night search because it has been so cold for weeks. I used to live in a small farming community in Southern Saskatchewan and had Burrowing Owls there (summer only). They are considered and endangered species in Canada. They are quite unusual as they have very long legs and nest underground. They are small too, approx 23-28 cm.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 04:29   #6
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Beautiful photos Phil. I cant compete with you there, but when I can get access to a scanner I will post one of my favourite birds which is the Giant Eagle Owl. The best places to see owls in our country is probably in reserve areas, where they can, if you are lucky, be seen all year round. We have two very small owls, the pearlspotted and the Scops, which are both around 16cm long. Our two largest are the giant eagle owl and the Pels fishing owl which is generally regarded as the largest. It is around 65cm. it is also very uncommon and a sighting is a real bonus.
The one we do have in common is the barn owl which is a common resident even in gardens in the towns. I was once lying in a sleeping bag in a grove of baobabs in Nxai Pan in Botswana - the huge trees were full of hollows in which were barn owls, making the most peculiar bubbling noises. The stars were huge and a gold disc of moon was rising, backlighting the twisted branches - a magical night.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 04:36   #7
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Phil those are wonderful photos of the owls.. we currently have some barn owls, short eared owls, and south of us there are snowy owls and just west of us is a northern Pygmy owl.
You photos are purely wonderful.
 
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 05:38   #8
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Much as I like them too, I rarely seem them locally. We occasionally get the Short Eared Owls, which feeed in the daylight and I occasionally see Tawny Owls roosting, but it's years since I saw a Barn Owl.
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 10:48   #9
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Wow! Those pictures of the LEOs are just terrific! I have yet to see one of those, although I tried awfully hard to find them on my 'raptor cruise' to Steuben County, IN earlier this month.

I'm hoping like crazy to add Snowy Owl to my list in February on a day trip to Muskegon, MI. While we do get the occasional Snowy near home, we're too far south to get them regularly, and I'm always missing them when they DO show up!

And to see a Great Gray or a Northern Hawk Owl would just be heaven! Someday, maybe I can make a winter trip up to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

In the meantime, I'll happily settle for hearing the little Screech that lives in the ditch area near my home, and for the Barred Owls I usually manage to find when spending the weekends at the cabin we rent at a local state park in May and October.

And a Barn Owl! OH! But they are soooooo few and far between around here!
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Old Wednesday 29th January 2003, 11:39   #10
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Saw my first owl ever last week- an Eagle Owl!!! My region is a stronghold for these superb birds. Attended a lecture beforehand, they start courting in December, lay eggs in mid-February. This is so they can profit from the arrival of spring migrants to feed the young. Very cunning!!!!
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 18:24   #11
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Seo & Leo

Thought i'd bring this old thread back into use.

On the way back home this afternoon, i decided to park up off the roadside & watch a small rough field (about 1/3 size of a soccer pitch).
As the light faded at 16:34GMT the first owl appeared, a Long Eared, floating along the fenceline towards me, it veered away & made an unsuccessfull dive into the long dry grass, then as it moved away my attention was drawn to a Brown Hare at the edge of the field.
Then Looking back there were 2 owls hunting!
I presumed this other bird was also a L.e.o but it turned wheeling down to dive, and showed itself to be a fine Short Eared !
Both birds hunted for 3 or 4 minutes, & seemed oblivious to one anothers prescence.
The S.e.o left the field, flying low over the road & had to take evasive action as a car hurtled past...!

All in all 20 minutes well spent!
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 19:02   #12
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Great photos Phil. Heard from the rear deck last night was the local red phase screech, followed later be the resident GH'd hooting to each other about a1/2 mile away. Down in Liberty Park across from lower Manhatten,NY, 2 short eards and 1 barn are coursing the fields. Usually get a snowy out on the barges.
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Old Tuesday 13th January 2004, 19:16   #13
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Have had a good year for owls so far this year have seen Spotted Owlet,Collared Scops Owl, Dusky Eagle Owl,Brown Fish Owl,Brown Hawk Owl and Chestnut Backed Owlet ,now that I am back in England I will have to start trying for the local owls , Tawny,Little,Short Eared ,Long Eared and Barn are all pretty easy round here.
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Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 07:01   #14
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In Finland "going to see owls" is an oxymoronic idea. We go listen to them by night as they are hooting from February to April - I have had an owl route for 20 years. The only owl that is to be spotted daylight is Surnia ulula (like Tammie told) + occasionally Nyctea scandiaca. Glaucidium passerinum is seen accidentally (like two month ago on my yard). Local breeders to be heard from Feb are Glaucidium, Aegolius funereus, Bubo bubo, Strix aluco & uralensis, and from March on Asio otus & flammeus (they're migratory). Strix nebulosa is rare in my quarters, more common in N Finland.
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Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 11:26   #15
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Another year comes and goes and the Owls, a bit different than last year, are still there to both see and here. Our local CBC turned up a record number of Screech Owls, several Long-eared, many Great-horned, several Barred and a pair of Saw-whet. Snowys were seen a bit earlier in the year with another a bit north of here over the weekend. No news on Hawk Owl this year and Barn Owls are even more unusual to see in this portion of Massachusetts.
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Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 16:04   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NE Birds Plus
Another year comes and goes and the Owls, a bit different than last year, are still there to both see and here. Our local CBC turned up a record number of Screech Owls, several Long-eared, many Great-horned, several Barred and a pair of Saw-whet. Snowys were seen a bit earlier in the year with another a bit north of here over the weekend. No news on Hawk Owl this year and Barn Owls are even more unusual to see in this portion of Massachusetts.
Hi NE,

I guess my owls aren't going to be of that much interest to you considering our relative proximity but anyway:

Up until about a month ago i'd never seen an owl - since then I have picked up SEO's at Norwalk Calf Pasture Beach, CT and Sachuest Park, RI (where a pair put on an amazing ariel battle for me - which also included a northern harrier) . LEO's in Central Park, NYC (Unfortunately there seems to be some concern among local birders about these birds as they are constantly being harrassed by inconsiderate birders, photographers and the public) also seen these at Sherwod Island State Park, CT. Saw-Whets at the same venue and Screech owls all over the place locally - I only saw one on our local CBC but must have heard another 8-10. Finally there are a couple of well known barred owls in a local town park which I have seen recently. Although I didn't see it there has been a Barn owl hanging around central park recently which is a bit of a suprise.

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Old Wednesday 14th January 2004, 16:34   #17
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Hi Luke, I find ALL Owls interesting! Thanks for posting. Your Central Park Barn Owl would be nice to see, they are reliable on Martha's Vineyard in Massachusetts and are always a treat to see. Long-eared Owls always draw a crowd.. keeping both the crowd and the Owls happy is not always attainable. Thanks for the local info.
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Old Thursday 15th January 2004, 23:30   #18
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Great shots, Phil! Those long-eareds would be lifers for me if I ever get to see them.

Here are a couple shots of a burrowing owl I took in Phoenix almost a year ago. They're being reintroduced at a wastewater treatment facility and park, hence the leg band on this one. We caught him napping on our way into the park, and a couple hours later as we left, he'd come around to one side of "his" rock, still obviously in nonchalant mode.

Apologies for the poor scans. I shoot a Canon EOS 1-N and usually use chrome but because my scanner doesn't like slides very much, I'm gradually going back to print film for the time being. I predict I'll be going digital in the not-too-distant future. The quality of digiscoped photos just blows me away!
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Old Thursday 15th January 2004, 23:35   #19
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Katy , when you say that they are being reintroduced ,what caused the Burrowing Owls to leave the site in the first place ?
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Old Friday 16th January 2004, 00:18   #20
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Katy , when you say that they are being reintroduced ,what caused the Burrowing Owls to leave the site in the first place ?
I'm not totally sure about this specific site, but burrowing owls all over southern AZ have lost a significant percentage of their burrows and habitat to housing and urban development and agriculture, and especially in the Valley of the Sun (Phoenix), which is growing like crazy.

This particular wastewater treatment facility is an area of linked ponds with varying degrees of marsh habitat as well as the desert-y terrain favored by the burrowing owl. Some housing developments are restoring burrows after the developments are completed and the owls are slowly returning. If you're particularly interested in this specific site, I'll be glad to look up more info for you, but I would guess that burrow restoration was part of a mitigation process when the treatment plant was installed/expanded, as was the multi-use park on the same site.
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Old Friday 16th January 2004, 19:54   #21
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Thanks for that sometimes wildlife mitigation in building developments are the best way of getting things done "on the cheap"
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