Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Night Owls

Hiked up the fire road in Claremont Wilderness Park, tonight, hoping to re-find the owls that I heard there last week.

This time I had a powerful flashlight.  Got there at 7:30, and deliberately hiked past the section of steep oak riparian canyon where I heard some weird owls sounds last Friday.  When I heard the family of owls last week, I didn't have a flashlight with me, and the owls sounded like they might be female Spotted Owls, but I wasn't 100% sure.

Before the sun went down, two Great Horned Owls hooted at each other.

Standing on the fire road above the canyon, I heard a male Spotted Owl calling, "Who?  Who-who; whoooo!"

I thought to myself, "Yes!  I was right!" and started walking down toward the dense oak riparian area.  Sure enough, I heard the females and babies.  I had my spotlight, but realized that I had forgotten my binoculars at home.


Got my spotlight on a group of small owls on a nest.  Damn, I can see them, but can't call it. 

But then again, I definitely heard a male Spotted Owl, so I'm not gonna worry about it.  I decide to not harass the owls on their nest with my light, and start walking downhill toward the parking lot.

A voice calls out in the dark, "Tom Miko, is that you?"

"Yeah.  Who's there?"

"Nancy.  My friend Kim is with me."

"Cool.  Follow me.  I found them."

"Found what?"

"Spotted Owls.  Babies, but I heard an adult male, too."

"That was us."


Nancy's friend, Kim, shows me her iPod , and pushes the button.  The iPod yells, "Who? Whoo-whoo, whoo!"

"Oh my god.  That was you guys?"


We walked back uphill to the spot, and Nancy yelled, "I hear baby screech owls!"  We took turns shining my light at what turned out to be a family of fluffy baby Western Screech Owls, begging to be fed, while Nancy let me see them with her binos.

Wow, they sound completely different from adult Western Screech Owls.

After we heard a couple of Common Poorwills, we got into our cars, and drove off in the dark. .

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