Saturday, March 27, 2010

A great day for owls

When I went out to Kensington this afternoon, owls were about the last thing on my mind. I was hoping to find some good waterfowl like a Common Loon, Red-breasted Merganser, or Horned Grebe. Waterfowl numbers were down significantly, however, and all of the ducks that were there were quite far out. I then headed over to Spring Hill hoping to find some Eastern Meadowlarks. I heard a few and saw one at the edge of the back field. While I was back there I also looked for the Great Horned Owl nest that Mike Mencotti found about two weeks ago. After a bit of searching I found the nest and saw one of the owls sitting on it. This was the first owl I had seen at Kensington but it was not to be the last.

I then headed over to the nature center to see what had been reported lately. As soon as I walked in Bob Hotaling said, "You're here to see the Barred Owl, right? Mike Mencotti found one on the Deer Run trail this morning" I was very surprised as I never had hear of a Barred Owl at Kensington before, although it was on the park checklist. After getting a few more directions from Bob I headed out down the trail. After a while I saw a group of three or four people with large cameras and sure enough, they were looking at the Barred Owl. I took me a while to see it at first because it was very well camouflaged.

After a minute or so, however, some people walking down the trail from the other direction accidentally spooked the owl. Fortunately it did not fly far and I was able to get an unobstructed picture.

It was cool to see a Barred Owl in the day although hearing them at night is really awesome as well.

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