Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Year's Day -- 2008

Happy New Year! We decided to get out and do a bit of birding today -- it's a good thing, since we didn't do much else today. ;-)

We started off Morton's road where we saw a lot of vultures, with a pair of Caracara among the crowd. Unfortunately, they were shy of us and we didn't get any pictures. We went around the corner and saw several ducks and geese along with some sort of small heron-like bird in a tree. We thought to backtrack to look for the Caracara (no luck) and saw this White Throated Sparrow.

We headed south then around to Cardiff road by the new airport and I noticed some strange shapes in a tree there. When we stopped to look, we saw that it was two great horned owls! The one on the right is easier to see -- notice the redish color of the eye disks, which suggest this is the Eastern sub-species.

Here's the one on the left. I think it was the more alert of the pair, though it 's difficult to tell due to the great number of tree limbs in the way.

As you can see the one on the right was still "snoozing" -- however, over several pictures, you could see that it sometimes turned it's head the other way. Marc hooted at them to get their attention.

Since we were "parked" on the street, we had our flashers on. A sheriff came up to see if we were ok. He noticed our cameras, and asked if we were just taking pictures. We assured him that was what we were doing. I told him there were two owls in the tree. He was friendly, but didn't seem too impressed.

From the excitement of the owls, we went over to our usual haunt along Woods road. There we saw a lot of hawks near to the ground (along with lots of geese and Sandhill cranes). This one was a real surprise! When I startled him, he took off with his kill -- a large rat. I have a picture, but thought you might not really want to see the gory part.

All in all, a good birding day!