Saturday, January 5, 2013

2011 owling


Near the beginning of the year I hatched a plan to focus on world owling. This is something that very few people are doing. I was attracted to the idea of focusing on one group of birds. And owls, for me, are the best group. There is something wonderful and sometimes terrifying about going out into the forest at night looking for owls.

Once I had the germ of the idea I went to Portland Central library to pick up a copy of Konig's wonderful owl book to learn more. Then I consulted with my good friend John Fitchen over a couple of pints at the Yukon Tavern. The last thing I needed to do was to ask Tui, my pregnant wife if I could go to Peru in the fall, after our son, Charlie was born to chase owls. She said yes!

The below entry details my exploits in and around Portland Oregon. The Peru trip can be found at

12.31.11 Taped out a pygmy owl near on the Metro property near Skyline School. First pygmy owl for Tui.
12.24.11 Returned to Stanwood, WA. Saw three snow owls on a dike including one very heavily marked bird, presumably a first year female. Also saw two short-eared owls, a male and female off of Eide rd.
12.17.11 returned to Wyatt road with Tui and flushed a barn owl from the same barn. Then revisited the same stand of small pines at Locust Grove and saw two great-horned owls. One was being mobbed by a cooper's hawk.
12.4.11 northern pygmy-owl seen 3 miles south of mp4 on Larch mountain. Did not respond to my tape. Car broken into!
12.3.11 Barn owl flushed from a barn on Wyatt Rd. A great horned owl and three long-eared owls flushed from a stand of small pines at Locust Grove. Female barn owl flushed from cotton woods in De Moss County Park.
11.25.11 Stanwood, WA, Tui, Vai and I twitch a snowy owl. Also at least 13 short-eared owls are hunting in the fields.
10.31.11 Tui and I were walking with Ziggy, when a great-horned owl landed on a street light next to the Mausoleum.
9.25.11 in an abandoned barn along Tygh Ridge Road, found a male great horned owl. Bird seen very well at close range.
9.24.11 Saw two great horned owls near eight mile road, SE of the Dalles. At the Dufur Gap campsite, heard a pair of great horned owls and elicited a response (heard only) from a western screech owl.
9.23.11 heard two barn owls at UCP. Tui saw one fly overhead.
9.17.11 went owling at Tideman-Johnson park. After 20 minutes heard a Western Screech. For the first time I heard the bird land-on a wet branch-with a splash of drops. Once heard it was easy to spotlight.
9.13.11 walking with Tui and Charlie at dusk. We heard several barn owl screams from the top of the mausoleum.
9.6.11 walked to the Mausoleum and down the steep bank to Oaks, then clockwise around Oaks and out of the south entrance. Saw one western screech in response to the tape. Heard 3 other birds.
8.31.11 Barn owl flew by the corral at Exit 18. Seen briefly at dusk. Tui was with me, but missed it.
7.18.11 recently fledged barn owl at exit 17.
7.13.11 pair of western screech at N end of oaks
7.12.11 three western screech, include 1 juv at N end of Oaks
7.6.11 one great horned near Tryon visitor's center, mobbed by crows
7.3.11 flammulated heard only at Metolious wildlife refuge
6.30.11 one barred owl by Tryon Ck, mobbed by robins.
6.27.11 one owl calling on west side of Lost lk. Two short notes, followed by a longer hoot. Strix-like.
4.11 roosting western screech at south end of Oaks. Seen twice. Then came in to tape at night.
4.11 northern pygmy heard briefly at mountain quail site in Washington County
3.11 great horned at south end of oaks. Seen at night.
3.11 western screech heard on Yukon and 20th.
2.11 western screech heard in Woodstock neighborhood.
1.11 short-eared at Broughton beach at dusk.
1.11 great horned owl seen and heard at the road to the South Jetty of the Columbia.