15 April 2010

Northern Saw-whet Owl Nests


With owl survey data in hand, three of us set off to find some owl nests; then connect with a couple of Atlassers (Breeding Bird Atlas) over in Fernie to plan this year's effort.

What a blinking blizzard it was for weather (insert more expletives here).

Sue did a terrific job, as usual, watching the mileage and Greg was excellent at scratching likely-looking snags with a stick to sound like a predator.

We were able to find 2 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL nests! Yay! How can we not help thinking we're so good at this. They are so cute! Poking their heads out, with indignant expressions from the disturbance.

A nice walk-about along the scrubby mixed forest adjacent to Peckham's Lake revealed several possible BLACK-BILLED MAGPIE nests (but no long ears sticking up above the sticks).

After a satisfactory pause at the pub in celebration, we carried on to Fernie in search of a Great-horned Owl nest rumored to be in Hosmer. More blizzard and bitter bitter wind. Guided by Kevin, Bob, and Henry the german sheppard, we turned up only a PILEATED WOODPECKER male likely just roosting in a hole in a tree on the banks of the Elk River; and a couple of GOLDEN EAGLE adults against the snow-covered mountains.

All along the way, we noticed flocks of dozens of AMERICAN ROBIN - the migration has begun again after being stalled by nature's flashback of winter.