Monday, November 5, 2012

2013 owling

Intro

In 2012 I tried to find all fifteen species of Northwestern owls. I failed. I didn't see a boreal owl. With the same goal in mind I tried again.........

12.29.13 The whole family took an afternoon walk through Reed Canyon. I was hoping for a barred owl, but instead chanced upon a roosting screech owl. It was a very brown bird with prominent ear tufts. Perhaps surprisingly, I found it just 100' from the remains of a screech owl killed by a Cooper's hawk earlier in the month.

12.22.13 I hiked down the steep bank from Wilheim Mausoleum to Oaks Bottom. I then started working the trail south-bound for screech owls. Just south of the viewing platform I found a silent screech owl. (I have become increasingly aware that owls frequently fly in to tape, often without calling. Scanning with  a flashlight a few minutes after taping is a great way to locate these silent owls if they are not seen flying in).

 12.21.13 I travelled down to Linn county with the whole family to track down a burrowing owl. We found the owl right away perched by a flooded culvert on Brandon Road, near Halsey.
This was the first time that Tui had seen a burrowing owl.
Eventually the owl squatted to avoid some over zealous photographers:
 Poor neglected Charlie:


12.15.13 On my fifth attempt I located a barred owl first reported to me a week ago by Rhett. I eventually found the owl at the entrance to Reed Canyon, trying to roost in a large cedar. It was being energetically mobbed by several dozen crows and a pair of stellar's jays. Beatiful! Strix owls are just the best.  (On my third attempt I found the sad remains of a Western screech owl who had been eaten by a cooper's hawk).

12.7.13 I drove from Tui's mom's house in Federal Way, WA to Moscow, ID through the night. Apart from the cold, it was a quiet beautiful drive. Just west of Othello, WA I saw a road side barn owl. I arrived at Moscow at sunrise and pulled into the Eastside Market parking lot

(If you have sharp eyes you may see that the temperature at Eastside Market is five degrees that morning). As soon as I arrived I saw the hawk owl in a distant pine tree.  I soon got great views through the scope. A couple of times the owl called it's kestrel-like chatter. I also got to see it fly on several occasions.


Here is a cell phone photo taken through my scope. I was struck how amazingly long the flank feathers were. What an incredible owl!

At one point it had perched on a street sigh on the median of a fairly busy street, and I became quiet worried it would be struck by a passing car if it flew.

Just beautiful. What a beautiful little owl.


11.30.13 The whole family went to LL Stub Stewart State park. At the upper end of the park, where the trail for unfit settlement lookout starts, I was able to elicit an intermittent Northern pygmy owl response. Alas, it wasn't a particularly aggressive bird, and I wasn't able to get a view.

11.24.13 Ziggy and I went on a day time owling road trip to Umatilla. Our first stop was to drive up the Celilo-Wasco Highway. Just east of Welk Road I saw a great-horned owl perched on a roadside utility pole at first light. A little further to the east at the intersection of Locust Grove Road, I found a singing great-horned owl also perched on a roadside utility pole.

At Mc Neary Dam I found a great horned owl roosting in a small ponderosa. This bird was really close and I got amazing views of it's huge eyes.

On the return journey I saw another roadside great-horned owl at dusk about 1 mile east of the Dalles Dam along side the interstate.

11.3.13 I visited Smith and Bybee lakes after dark. Near the entrance I heard a great-horned owl sing. Soon after I heard a barn owl screech a couple of times. It was a strange place to owl. I felt nervous that my car would get broken into or towed. The orange glow form sodium lights was surprisingly bright, even out at the end of the trail.

10.26.13 I returned to Calliope Crossing. About a quarter of a mile west of the crossing I relocated the Northern pygmy owl. I got brief in flight views. A half a mile west of the crossing I taped out a beautiful Great-horned owl. It flew between three perches and sung for several minutes. By slowly fading light I could see it's white throat and ear tufts before a shooting star passed over us.

10.2013 I went to Oak Island road to look for barn owls after dark. I heard one call several times in response to my tape, but it refused to show it's self. It was an amazing night, with a big bright moon, a thin low fog, above which trees and barns floated. All around coyotes yowled and cried, while sandhills bugled.

10.13.13 I walked around Oak's Bottom on a clear breezy night. I was greeted by a chorus of coyotes. I got a single response from a screech owl about 100 yards north of the south entrance to the east trail. I located a perched brown phase screech owl, perched low in a bush. Surprisingly it hard a barb like whisker that protruded 3" from it's right side of its chest. It did not appear like a foreign body such as a porcupine spine or piece of plant. I suspect that it was a barb-less feather that had mutated.

9.8.13 The whole family went to Oak Island Road to look for barn owls at dusk. It was a beautiful night, and although we failed to find barn owls, we did hear a great-horned owl singing at mp2.5.

9.3.13 Charlie, Ziggy and I too a walk along the east side of Oaks Bottoms. I found a roosting screech owl in a small conifer about 100m north of the south gate. (I had seen screech owls roosting in the same conifer in 2011). Just north of the mausoleum, we found the young barred owl. It was actively hunting, which was quite comic, as it was a terrible flier. It crashed through the trees, making lots of noise. It also was very energetic when perching; peering and extending its neck, and sometimes letting it's wings hang loose.

9.2.13 The whole family walked along the east side of Oaks bottoms to look for a barred owl that I had seen 10 days ago. On the return, just north of the mausoleum, we saw it just above the trail at dusk.

9.1.13 I awoke early and after a coffee, Ziggy and I walked over to Malheur headquarters where we soon relocated the great-horned owl roosting above the bathrooms in a cottonwood. I ran into a local birder, Tim, from Burns. He suggested Benson Pond as a good site for Barn Owls. While driving the southern section of the Central Patrol Road, I saw a roosting great-horned owl above the Blitzen. This bird was much grayer than the brown bird at the headquarters.



At Benson Pond, I found at least three more great-horned owls. All were very gray. Two were clearly juvenile birds. They were very tame, and emitted a screech-like yelp. The mosquitoes were fucking horrible!


8.31.13 A banner day! During the night I heard a great-horned owl singing near the tent. Then at first light a pygmy owl sang a very rapid, almost trilling series of toots. I walked the creek side to the west with Ziggy at dawn and saw a red-shouldered hawk and a white-headed woodpecker.  Then we set off on our long drive to Malhuer. Along the way I saw a ferruginous hawk and a few Swainson's. I stopped at Ruh Red Road, but was unable to find any Burrowing owls. Ziggy and I were tormented by thousands of no-see-ums.

Next we headed to the headquarters at Malhuer, where I found a roosting Great-horned owl. This bird was quiet brown. (Being in a desert environment I had expected a paler bird).

After driving the northern section of the central patrol road, we headed to the South entrance road to the Steens. Bob Archer had kindly given me directions to where he had seen long-eareds back in June. The site was 2.5 miles up the road, between a rough track to the south and a gated road to the north. The site was the ridge top to the south of the road. After 20 minutes I had surveyed the few trees on the ridge to no avail. Not even pellets or feathers. Immediately to my west was a dried up water coarse, with junipers on either side. I explored this watercourse, and followed it to the south. I found a few tell tail signs, a stick nest with pellets beneath, three feathers and some white wash on another tree. Eventually we flushed a long eared! I was able to get good in flight views. Eventually we cam to a small pond were Ziggy cooled off.



Back at the car I celebrated with a cold beer. Then we headed back to Ruh Red road. Again we were devoured by insects, and despite our suffered I saw no Burrowing owls. We drove east along Rur Red, and stopped on the bridge over West fork of the Silvies river. It was dusk, and down the channel I could see a ruined farm. Perched on the roof was a singing great-horned owl. I watched the owl for several minutes. It was a beautiful scene. Just up the road, I flushed a burrowing owl. It disappeared into the sage brush. I briefly played a tape, and it returned to the road. I got amazing views as it flew around the car, looking very alert. About a mile from the bridge I flushed a short-eared owl from the roadside. Judging from how dark the bird appeared, I suspect it was a female. Shortly after I saw another great-horned perched on a utility pole. Amazing! I looped back to 205, by way of Embree Bridge lane. I kept my eye out for barn owls, and even checked a few barns, but to no avail. We camped in an abandoned quarry adjacent to Malheur headquarters. In previous years barn owls had lived in the quarry, but it had been excavated substantially over the years and I could not find them this night. None the less, it had been an amazing day. I built a small camp fire, and reflected on my fifteenth and final Northwest owl of 2013.

8.30.13 Ziggy and I left Portland on a hot Friday afternoon. We drove out east Estacada way to beat the holiday traffic and made it to Calliope Crossing near Sister's as the sun was setting.  As soon as I had pitched the tent, we walked east, parallel to the creek. I played a tape for pygmy ow, and about 1/4 mile down the trail, I heard a distant response. The owl flew in to a near by tree, and I eventually saw it flying between two big Pondarosa pines.

After dinner, I tried the riparian area for Long-eared owls. I worked the area west of the crossing, with no luck. I eventually returned to the area where I had seen the pygmy owl. No Long-eared owls responded, but I did hear at least three great-horned owls.

8.23.13 While driving home from work, Rhett called to say he had seen a young barred owl below the mausoleum at Oaks Bottom. I arrived there half an hour later and eventually located the bird by the SW corner of the mausoleum. I got great views of the bird roosting low in a chestnut tree. About an hour later I returned with Tui and Charlie, who both got great views.

8.16.13 The family and Lina Jr and I were driving across Sauvie. About 1/3 mile north of the intersection of Reeder and Gilihan loop road I saw two great-horned owls at dusk perched on utility poles.

8.11.13 Rhett Wilkins and I went to Sauvies Island for a couple of hours of daytime owling. We tried for barn owl at the barns about a mile along Oak Island Road and also at the abandoned farm at the end of the road. We struck out at both sites. Amazingly Rhett was able to find three barn owls roosting in conifers along the road. What was particularly impressive was his ability to find the owls without flushing them. Instead of peering between the branches and flushing the owls as I usually do, Rhett  looked for holes in the dense foliage, that the owls use to fly in and out of the dense conifers. By looking carefully through the holes to the center of the tree, Rhett found three beautiful barn owls. We also checked the nearby slough for roosting great-horned owls, but found non.

8.8.13 I explored Deschutes State park and the canyons of Wasco County looking for long-eared owls. It was a hot and stormy night. It rained lightly on and off, and above me the sky lit up by lightening. The air was heavy with the smell of damp, oily sage. I biked from the entrance if the park up to a small group of threes about 3.5 miles in. My only success was a heard only barn owl about 2 miles down Locust Drive.

8.2.13 Tui, Charlie, Ziggy, Lena and I visited Puget Island. We stayed at the Stockhouse Farm. At dusk, I saw a pair of barn owls flying around. In the neighboring barn, I found 5 almost fledged young barn owls.

7.28.13 I visited Hagg Lake in Washington County after dark to look for long-eared owls. I didn't see and long-eareds, but I did hear a great-horned at the far end of the lake. More details on the site are available at http://thebirdguide.com/washington/site_guides/hagg_lake/hagg_lake.htm .

7.14.13 Based on a sighting of a couple of juvenile long-eared owls by Russ Namitz, I went to J S Burres state park, about 17 miles south east of Wasco. The owls were reported from the first copse of trees northwest of the bridge on the left side of Highway 206. I carefully combed the few trees, and found a dead long-eared owl. I explored the state park until it got dark. At dusk I heard a great horned owl near the park headquarters. At the copse, I tried for long-eared, but got no response. Back at the bridge, a young barn owl calling from a column under the bridge. I got good views of a very dark barn owl. At the intersection of Locust Grove and Highway 206 (a few miles northwest of Wasco), I heard two juvenile barn owls, begging.

7.6.13 Over the fourth of July holiday I had read about a pair of breeding hawk owls in northern Washington. Because I was on call for that week, I had to wait a couple of days before I would get a chance to look for them.

After dropping Tui and Charlie of at her families place in Federal way, Ziggy and I drove through the night to Winthrop. Even at night time, highway 20 was beautiful. I could make our the huge mountains above me as I drove through the North Cascades. I narrowly missed a pair of raccoon on the road, and also saw deer, elk and a coyote. Just east of Panther Creek, in the North Cascades I had a mid sized owl fly overhead. I suspect it was a long-eared owl, but for reasons I can't explain, I didn't want to be distracted from my quest, and didn't bother to stop.

At Winthrop, I took forest road 37 to the northeast, then forest road 39 for 3.8 miles. I arrived a little after dawn at 530. I spent the next 5 hours covering progressively further clearings and roads from the site. Walking off trail was pretty rough. A lot of the ground was uneven and wet.  A major burn years back had downed many lodgepole pines, making walking strenuous.

At one point I thought I head the begging calls of young hawk owls, but I was fooled by a pair of gray jays.

At approximately mp 4.2, along Brown Meadows Creek I saw a distant bird high on a dead pine. It was a hawk owl! Wow. I was able to sneak up on the owl, which was buy hunting. I eventually got really nice views of it as it actively hunted from a perch. Several times it called-a softer version of a kestrels whinnying chatter. To my right, I heard a second bird calling, and soon I had even better views of it hunting.

On my way back to the car, I ran into four car loads of birders and was able to show them one of the hawk owls.

The drive back to Winthrop was mostly coasting down hill, which was good, because I had driven 420 miles since fueling, and the car was running on fumes.

6.30.13 The whole family was walking in Tryon Creek. We heard several Robins calling, which alerted us to a great-horned owl. I got brief views, but he flew away before Tui and Charlie could see it.

6.22.13 We had made our way from Lost Creek down to Elk Lake resort, southwest of Bend. At dusk I left everyone at the cabin, and drove to Virginia Meissner Snow Park. This is the site where I had seen flammulated owls last year. As soon as a played my tape, I got a distant response. I tracked down the bird about 300m into the forest. Soon I had two birds singing in response to my tape. I got very brief views, perhaps a flam or just a bat? I pursued the birds, but this was difficult. Under foot there was a lot of fallen wood, making my progress very noisy. These tiny owls can be real bastards to get a view of. After twenty minutes I decided to give these two owls a break, so sat down to take a rest. I decided to find some new owl to harass, but when an owl called near by, I could not resist trying again. I snook under the singing bird, doing my best to stay on the grass and avoid the noisy fallen wood. I knew I was close when I heard a tiny soft growl above me. Wow, there in my light was a perfect tiny owl. This is the first time I have seen a flam in full color! All previous sightings were in silhouette. No sooner had I sighted the owl, it took off and disappeared into the thick firs. Still I was really happy to get a color view of this fantastic little owl.

6.21.13 The whole family was camped out at Lost Creek camp-ground in Clackamas County. While walking the nature trail to the beaver dam at dusk we heard some Stellar's jays alarm call, followed by a barred owl song. I ran back to the car and grabbed my owling gear. In response to my tape, I got a couple of birds to sing. Typical of many barred owls, they did not fly in to the tape.

6.16.13 I headed out to Lolo Pass, in Clackamas County, at dusk. I left the civic and biked out down a forest road into the mountains. The first area I explored was mostly scrappy forest. I saw lots of nighthawks, but no owls. I eventually made my way to mid-elevation forest. I stopped every half mile to listen for spotted owls. Around mid night I found a beautiful spotted owl. I got decent views, as it was perched low in a tree. The bird sung, which was just amazing. I could hardly believe my luck! What a brilliant bird. It was a long steep bike ride back to the car, but made so much easier having found my bird.

 6.8.13 The three of us continued to check out various nesting platforms for great gray owls. We eventually found an adult bird at Emerald Ponds. (Go 1/2 mile west from the freeway on Road 21, turn left on road 800. About a mile down 800, we turned right on road 802, which we traveled down for 1/2 mile, until we came to a dead tree on the right. We parked and walked to the right, at a diagonal, following the trees for about a 1/4 until we reached two ponds. The owl was 100 yards to the left of the far pond. It was absolutely beautiful!

We then made our way west to Heppner, then traveled south on Highway 207 to the national forest. We camped in the forest off of road 100 and heard a singing flammulated owl that night.

6.7.13 Charlie, Ziggy and I drove to Spring Creek Wildlife Management area in the blue mountains. We drove 3.4 miles west on road 21, then turned left on road 2155, and continued about a mile to road 050 on the right. An 1/8th of a mile up road 050, we found wildlife photographer Scott Carpenter and a barely fledged great gray owl in a low perch. In the adjacent gully an adult owl was waiting.  Amazingly easy.  I chatted with Scott who gave me some good information about owls in the area.

We then drove back towards the freeway and camped by the creek off of road 21. Here we heard a flammulated owl briefly at dusk, and a great-horned owl during the night.

5.20.13 I return to road 58 off of Skyline Road in Mt Hood National forest. One mile down the road from Skyline I taped in a barred owl. The bird perched 50' up in a conifer and sang loudly from an exposed perch. Nearby I heard a triple soft hoot. The notes were similar to a long eared owl, of about half a second duration and the spacing was about half a second. I suspect a long-eared owl. I also asked David Johnson who suggested the same, or great gray owl. The great gray that I heard called at Spring creek sounded very similar (6.7.13)

5.18.13 At the usual camping spot off of Dufur Gap road, Tui, Charlie and I were camping. Charlie woke us at 1am, and soon after we heard a western screech owl singing just above our tent.

5.15.13 I followed up on a report of a pair of long-eared owls near the John Day river. The exact location of the report is 44.862486 -120.409679.  It was a long drive, and then when I got there, I had a hard time figuring out the exact location. Eventually I figured I needed to take the closed dirt track that starts a half a mile after the road closed sign. The track lead to an area of dry pines and juniper. I spent a couple of hours taping for the owls but got no response. On the return drive I flushed a big great-horned owl just east of Maupin.

5.11.13. Tui and I were in the yard at 930pm when we heard a barn owl screech a few times from  a tall tree in the neighbor's yard. We tried to spotlight it, but were unable to.

5.4.13 I set up to visit the burrowing owl project at the Umatilla Chemical Weapons depot.  The project was organized by David Johnson djowl@aol.com as part of the global owl project globalowlproject.com . David kindly allowed me to watch (and lend a hand) with the research on burrowing owls.  I arrived mid afternoon and it was hot, dry and dusty. David arrived soon after with a team of volunteers. They had been installing artificial burrows, which has been a very effective way to support the owls. (Especially since badgers have been extirpated from the depot).

David showed me the results from his research. Remarkably the female birds disperse to California, while the males move north to the Yakima area. He proposed that the females go to access the best food, while the males stay relatively nearby so that they can quickly return to the best territories early each spring.

In the early evening we started setting traps for the owls. For trapping females, a trap is placed at the end of the nest burrow. To trap males, a trap with a mp3 player and speaker playing a male song, is placed in a nearby burrow, or if only one burrow is present, in a decoy burrow. Remarkably this is very effective and we caught 3 out of 4 pairs in two hours. We also saw three other birds when driving around. I got to handle the birds, which was amazing. They are so small in the hand. Overall they were very calm in the hand, and their only protest being occasionally bill clapping. Blood was drawn for most birds, as part of a second project to see if burrowing owl could be a vector for the plague. (They carry the same fleas that transmit the plague).

The north side of the depot was a beautiful grassland complete with singing curlews and coyotes.

4.30.13 Tui and I were at the fire fit in the back yard when we heard a barn owl call multiple times at dusk.

4.6.13 Tui, charlie, Ziggy, Lina and I went to Puget Island, WA. We stayed at Rog's retreat, at Stockhouse farm. Surrounding the cabin was some rough pasture and a lot of small coniferous trees. Charlie and I set about checking the conifers for roosting owls. We flushed a rare Columbia white tailed deer. Soon we found a tree splattered with white-wash and strewn with pellets. Above us a male barn owl emerged from it's roost and flew to an adjacent tree. Nearby we found a second, also male barn owl. Both owls flew into a conifer next to our cabin, so we were able to show the owls to Tui and Lena. 

Tui, Charlie and I then went to explore an adjacent barn. Inside we found an owl box and an owl platform  Perched next to the platform, a beautiful female barn owl. This bird had a remarkably dark back and upper wings. Fortunately the bird did not flush, and we got excellent, but brief views.

Around dusk, our host Bob, came over and we go talking about owls. he mentioned that the barn owls nested in the barn. He also said that great-horned's sometimes call from the cottonwoods behind his house. Later that night while building a fire in the rain  sure enough a great horned started singing. Despite the fairly heavy rain I was able to track the owl down. It was a beautiful, very dark male, with a very conspicuous white throat, perched in a spruce next to a canal.

3.12.13 I owled Tryon Creek, starting at Boone's Ferry Road. It was an uneventful night. I did hear a great-horned owl calling from the usual gully north of the visitor's center.  In the same area I heard a raspy screech, like a barn owl, but not as harsh. I suspect this was a young great-horned begging for food.

3.3.13 I owled Mt Talbert in Clackamas County. Near the summit I heard a distant Saw-whet owl, which did not call a second time. At the far NW corner I heard a great-horned owl calling. On the lower west side I heard a western screech owl. Finally in the far south east corner I heard a great horned owl-probably a second bird given the distance-about 1.5 miles. Disappointingly I was not able to get a look at any of these owls.

2.24.13 Ziggy and I went to Sauvie's island. About 1/4 mile east of Coon Point I saw a barn owl perched along the road side. I was able to stop and get pretty decent views. We tried but failed to see a barred owl that Andy Frank had reported from the blue heron nursery area of the island. We then headed for Tryon where I got a very distant single response from a barred owl at the North end of the park. Unfortunately the bird did not come in. A little north of the visitor's center I heard a loudly calling great-horned owl in the same place that dad and I saw a pair of birds last year.

1.26.13 After reading about a recent sighting of a roosting western screech owl at Oaks Bottom. Ziggy and I went to the northern "Frog Pond". I found the owl roosting in a nearby fir tree. It was a brown phase bird. We clearly interested it, as it elongated it's posture as we approached and raised it's ear-tufts. It also turned its head to follow us as we walked around it.
That afternoon the whole family went to LL "Stub" Stewart State Park. While walking near the cabins we heard a distant saw-whet respond to our pygmy owl tape at dusk. Later after night had fallen, under a brilliant full moon, I heard a saw whet calling near our cabin. I walked towards the bird, and played a tape. Moments later I saw the bird fly in. It appeared narrower-winged than a screech owl-though that may have been the perspective. I got excellent views for two minutes-the white hair-like markings that encircle the face are very curious to me. Are they little whiskers? Or perhaps white center shafts of feathers. Amazing. One of my favorite owls.


1.21.13 Charlie, Ziggy and I went to Sauvie's island to track down a reported spotted owl. We didn't find the barred owl, but did flush a barn owl from a red barn adjacent to the marina on the east side of the island. Just south of the county line on Reeder Road we found a silhouetted great-horned owl perched in an oak. Just east of Coon Point we saw a second great-horned owl perched in a tree. And just west of Coon point a second barn owl flew across the road.

1.19.13 I visited Stanwood WA, in pursuit of Snowy Owls. Just like last winter, the birds were perched along the dike across from Thomle Road. I walked part way across the marshy fields and got pretty decent views of one very white male bird, including some great in flight views. When flying the wings were noticeably pointed for an owl. In total I saw three snowies. I also saw three short-eared owls.
Further north I visited west 90( on Samish Island Road) , where 54 short-eared owls roost. I enjoyed absolutely fantastic views of the hunting short eareds. I heard a lot of calling birds, their call reminded me of the call of a flushed snipe, but a little softer. I waited until dusk, as a long-eared was reported in the area. Despite braving the bitter cold, the long-eared failed to show itself.

1.13.13 Charlie, Ziggy and I walked east along Broughton Beach. At the end of the beach I saw a distant short eared owl flying mid channel over the Colombia. Later, just west of the Sea Scout Base, we flushed a dark-probably female short-eared owl from the rocky bank of the Columbia. On the return we saw a distant Short-eared owl flying high above the river. This bird appeared much lighter and may have been a male.

1.6.13 The whole family went to Hagg Lake. Starting at Scroggins Creek, we walked counter clockwise along the road. It was very quiet and slightly misty. Unfortunately Charlie cried almost the whole walk. At Sain Ck, I got a good response to a pygmy owl tape. Although the bird was very close it was quite elusive. Like many pygmies, it flew about between three trees, and eventually I could pin it down and get a decent view despite the rapidly fading light. When calling it's throat was conspicuously puffed and white-just like a great-horned owl's.
A few minutes later a pair of great horned owls started singing. I taped a couple of times, but it was still very light, and Charlie was tired and upset, so we didn't linger.
Plans

An owling trip on the Shuttleworth Ck Road, E. of Ok Falls, produced a
BOREAL OWL and 2 NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWLS (CC,m.ob). The Boreal was at the
traditional location at km 23.

The BOREAL OWL was at Rabbit Lake, which is at km 22 on the
Shuttleworth Ck Rd,

A BOREAL OWL
was heard at km 25 on the Shuttleworth Ck Road on the 22nd as well

At about 0445, we were at km 22 of
Shuttleworth Creek Road in spruce habitat,
standing on the road, when the haunting
call of a Boreal owl broke the still air right
beside us

Hagg Lake


Owls
Numerous owls can be found around Hagg Lake throughout the year. Windless, dry nights in April are excellent for hearing these birds. The Stimson lumber mill below the dam operates all night, with hissing steam and owl-like beeping forklifts, so listening for owls at night is best done away from the south end of the lake. Northern Saw-whet Owls are often heard in conifer and mixed woods at the foot of Lee Road, near Stepien Road overlooking the lake, and near Nelson Road. Western Screech-Owls are most frequently heard in the oak groves and deciduous creek bottoms on the east side of the lake, especially near Nelson Road. Great Horned Owls can be heard at Sain Creek and Tanner Creek. Long-eared Owls are rare but regular. Most have been heard near Recreation Area A West, but also recently near Scoggins Creek Picnic Area and Sain Creek Picnic Area. Northern Pygmy-Owls are most-often detected at dawn and dusk near conifer woods in the Scoggins Creek arm of the lake.
http://thebirdguide.com/washington/site_guides/hagg_lake/hagg%20lake%2012.jpg