Sunday, January 4, 2015

2015 Owling


I live in Portland Oregon with my wife Tui, two sons Charlie and George, and dog Ziggy. This entry details my owling exploits for 2015 around Portland and further afield in the Pacific Northwest.

1.3.15 I followed up on a report of a short-eared owl on the Yamhill Christmas count. Paul Sullivan gave directions to the south end of McMinville Airport, where the owl had been seen around dusk for a couple of weeks.

We arrived at 330, but had to wait until 445 on a dark chilly afternoon. The owl came out and quartered the airfield. What a wonderful bird! This bird was much darker than the one I saw at Broughton Beach last month.

1.24.15 I decided to explore Washington and Yamhill counties. My first stop around 2am, was Tualatin Hills for Barred owl. I found a scrawny coyote in the parking lot, but no owls.

Next stop was Tualatin National Wildlife Refuge for screech owl which I failed to find. I heard a lot of geese and at least two tail-slapping beavers, I also heard a singing Great-horned owl.

On the advice of Paul Sullivan and ebird, I headed for Gopher Valley Road near Sheridan. Passing through McMinville I found a roadside barn owl on the south side of town.

Near Dear Creek county park I heard a saw-whet and great-horned owl. A few miles further up Gopher Valley Road I found a lovely singing screech owl and got great views. I tried further up the valley for pygmy owl, but to no avail.

Later that day the whole family walked along the east side of Oaks Bottom. It was an amazingly warm afternoon. The screech owl was roosting in the usual Ash tree.

1.25.15 Andy Frank let me know the great-horned had returned to Vanport Wetlands. George and I arrived under a heavy late afternoon fog. We found the nest, but no bird was visible. After wandering around to kill time we eventually heard a male bird singing deep in the misty cottonwoods. The bird on the nest responded by stretching its wing and raising it's head.

1.26.15 I had an extra 20 minutes before I needed to start work so I ventured to Reed Canyon in search of barred owls. After a couple of minutes I found one, perched quite low in a conifer. Lovely bird! (In the last six trips to Reed, this was my first successful one).

1.31.15 I returned to Tualatin Hills nature preserve in search of barred owl, but struck out. I then drove to Jackson's Bottom and quickly found a lovely screech owl.

The next stop was High Heavenly drive. Paul Sullivan had recommended this area for Barred owl and I did hear a a distant Barred.

I then ventured to McGuire reservoir. I had about an hour before dawn and spent it searching for saw whets, but failed to find any. I did hear a gang of coyotes singing beautifully. After dawn, I looked for pygmy owls for 90 minutes, but failed to turn up any. Nonetheless it was a beautiful frosty clear morning.

2.6.15 Rhett and I met in Tryon in search of saw whet owls. Rhett had heard on early in the evening. Despite this we were unsuccessful in our attempts to solicit one.

While walking past the barred owl nest site we flushed a barred owl out from a low perch in a cedar. Although we were unable to relocate that bird, we did find a second bird perched midway up in a conifer facing the nest cavity.

2.8.15 Ziggy, George and I walked around Oaks Bottom in search of screech owls. At the usual ash tree we found a roosting screech owl-only it's belly and thighs were visible.

2.15.15 While visiting Tui's family in Federal Way, I took the afternoon off and visited Eide Road on Camano Island. For weeks the internet had been ablaze with reports of a pair of roosting long-eared owls, plus several short-eared owls. Most of the conversation had been focus on photographers and birders getting to close to the owls.

It was a fabulous day, warm and sunny. T-shirt weather. After reading about crowds mobbing the owls, I was a bit surprised to find just a couple of visitors. No one had seen the owls today. Once I had figured out where the owls had been sighted, I started working the bushes in a progressively wider circle in search of long eareds. I soon racked up 5 or 6 wonderful short-eareds. Some hiding in tall grass, others perched on trees or driftwood.

A quarter of an hour after sunset I decided to return to the original roost site and watch for long-eareds emerging from their hiding places to hunt. I spotted a spot of white-wash under a thicket. Amazingly a lovely long-eared was perched very low in the thicket. Soon the bird started to stir. It stretched it's wings, preened and yawned.  Like a cat. I was amazed at how orange it's under-wings were. Just a lovely owl.

2.16.15 On route back from Federal Way we stopped at Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. A pair of great-horned owlets had been reported on the birding list-serve Tweeters. It was a warm day and the reserve was packed with visitors. On twin barns loop trail we were shown a dark adult birds, and nearby two large owlets.

2.21.15 The whole family went to check on the barred owl nest site at Tryon. It took a while and we had pretty much given up, but as we left I found a barred owl high in a Doug fir.

3.15.15 During a warm and wet weekend I took Charlie out to Oaks Bottom and found a screech owl roosting in the usual broken ash tree.

Later the same day George and I braved the strong winds and went to Tryon. We found a barred owl standing guard close to the nest site.

3.21.15 The whole family walked to the overlook above Oak's bottom. I could see the roosting screech owl in the usual ash tree.

3.22.15 I ventured out to Hood River County very early this morning. E-bird suggested that Post Canyon Road may have barred and saw-whet owls but I turned up neither there. Next I tried Elder Rd (from Old Dalles Dr). I had up to three saw whets-one for sure-it gave a classic song, I also heard a load explosive chattering alarm in response to a tape and at a third location just a single note. Additionally I heard two distant great-horned owls. After a cloudy sunrise I taped out a pygmy owl. This was the only owl I actually saw.

It rained for most of the rest of the day. Around diner time George, Ziggy and I went to Tryon. We found a lovely barred owl roosting in a cedar overlooking the nest site.

3.26.15 The whole family walked out to Oak's overlook. I could see the screech owl roosting in his usual hole in the ash tree.

3.2915 I got up at 1245 and with some difficulty made it out of the house. I drove down to Benton county in search of spotted owls. As soon as I got out of the car I heard a singing saw-whet. Soon I was able to track it down and get a nice view. Amazing there were five saw-whets singing in the area. I also heard a distant barn owl and three screech owls sang softly among the saw-whets.

Eventually I heard a pair of spotted owls. They sang very infrequently and I struggled to pin point the location. Alas they went unseen.

At a second location I heard a another spotted, briefly in steep terrain. Again the bird did not call consistently and I wasn't able to find it.

On the way back to the car a pygmy owl responded with one toot to a tape.

April 4th I ventured out to Kinzel Lake. I called Zig Zag Ranger Station yesterday and was told the road was open. I decided to take Tui's RAV4. This turned out to be a good thing as there was 8" of fresh snow. 

It was an exciting drive out to the lake, with some mud holes and slick hills. Once there the foot trails were impossible for me to find. I called for owls by the lake, then returned, stopping at promising patches of forest. A small bird flew across in front of the car, possibly a saw-whet, but I could not be certain. There was a full moon and it was such an amazing night I had to write about it despite the dearth of owls. 

April 11th On a squally cool morning the whole family ventured out to Tryon. After sheltering from a deluge under a Doug fir we found a barred owl near the nest site. Despite being wet it looked just perfect.

April 12th After George was in bed I drove out to Camas Prairie east of Mount Hood. I hear a pair of singing barred owls there. Nearby I hear a distant great-horned owl.

I then checked out an area near Little Crater Lake where I heard a saw-whet owl singing persistently.

April 17th. (George's first birthday). I went out to the Hood River-Wasco border, east of Mount Hood in search of spotted owls. I drove as far as I dared, until I reached a lot of old deep snow that was alternatively frozen, then soft. I parked the Toyota and set off up the hill. It was an amazing warm night. I hiked up through the snow in search of spotted owls but heard nothing. On the way back I taped for saw-whet, but got no response.

Back on highway 44 i heard a group of at least three great-horned owls. Eventually I was able to spotlight one in flight.

April 18th. We took Tui's family and the kids out to Tryon to look for barred owls. Near the nest I found a bird roosting low in a cedar. We all got to enjoy the owl. Below in the gully I could hear the tell-tale sounds of scolding robins and stellar's jays. I made my way down and found a gorgeous barred owl roosting in a maple. When the light is this good, barred owls are just perfect.

April 22nd. Charlie and I went to visit my friend Andy who had a nesting screech owl in his yard in Northwest Portland. I got to see owl fly a couple of times and perch in the nest tree.

April 25th. George, Ziggy and I went to the Tryon barred owl nest site. As soon as we arrived we saw a group of people watching a barred owl in a maple. Soon we got to watch it hunt. A couple of times if flew to the ground, then hopped around between the bushes. I am not sure if it was hunting for invertebrates? Either way we got fantastic views of the owl. (I din't see the owlet, but was shown photos of an owlet taken of the nest site earlier this morning).
The nest tree was devoid of white-wash or pellets. I think that barred owls avoid soiling the nest tree-perhaps to reduce detection by predators?

April 26th. Charlie and I drove out a wonderful patch of old growth in to the coast range . Along the way we drove through some pretty fucked up desolate clear cuts. It was a stark contrast between the madness of the climactic ancient forest and the barren logged hills.
Far up the hillside we heard a spotted owl call, then another responded. Both birds were far away and it wasn't practical to chase after them with a four year old in tow. Still it was brilliant to hear them. My first spotted owl for Polk County.

April 29th. I met Rhett at the overlook above Oaks Bottom. Wasting no time we hiked down the steep bluff through tall wet grass the the screech owl ash tree. Near the tree Rhett found a lovely roosting screech owl. We had great views of the owl for about 45 minutes, then we took off to check out other roost sites. We returned just before dusk to find the owl had gone. We didn't have to wait long before we found the owl flying around. I eventually landed near a broken tree-we will have to return in the day to confirm if there is a good nesting cavity in that tree.

May 1st. The whole family went to a cabin near Prineville. I had planned on owling the next night, but Charlie had been rambunctious at bed time and I had yelled at him. I felt guilty and wanted to apologize, but didn't want to wake him. Unable to sleep I set of up McCay Creek trail. Near the summit I heard a saw-whet. I was close to homing in on it, when a great-horned started singing. Immediately the saw-whet was silenced. At Stein's Pillar trail head I tried for flammulated, but got no response. I did manage a lovely view of a saw whet in some small ponderosas.

Later that day we all went to check out a barn that Chuck Gates had kindly told me about. It took knocking on a few doors, but eventually we got to the right place. We found 3 barn owls at the back of the barn. Charlie got to see them quite well and he was pretty excited to see them. The entrance was littered with dead voles-perhaps its a good year for voles?

Back at the cabin we went for an evening walk. I tried taping for pygmy and pretty soon located a super distant owl at the top of a spruce. It stuck around and we eventually got fairly good views.

May 9th. The whole family was in Federal Way visiting Tui's folks. Ziggy and i got up at 230am and I drove to Othello in search of burrowing owls. As I past Lake Easton I began to smell the most disgusting smell. I pulled into the next rest area to discover Ziggy, a senior dog, and partner in crime had shit in the hatch of the civic. I was able to ditch the crapped-upon blanket and wipe up the car. After a cold mile of driving along the freeway with the widows down the car smelled tolerably.

Just west of Othello the smell returned with a vengeance. Only worse. I pulled over and it looked like Ziggy had been mud wrestling all over the back seat. I was at a loss with how to deal with it, so I drove on to Othello feeling nauseous, by probably not as sick as Ziggy evidently was.

I was following Mary Hrudkaj's directions. A couple of hundred yards from the site I saw this:

Can you see the burrowing owl perched on the bales of straw? I ended up getting really great views by using the car as a blind.

Now for the dog diarrhea clean up. I drove up to a coral.

I bathed Ziggy in an open irrigation channel. Then tore up my shirt and used it to mop up jello-like lumps of wet dog shite. Apart from the smell the drive home was uneventful.

May 17th. My sister, Fiona, was in town for a week and we decided to explore the Deschutes and John Day rivers. At Cottonwood Canyon State Park we found a female barn owl and at least two chicks nesting in a cliff side hole.

May 18th. I took my sister to Tryon State Park to see barred owls. We had to wait 'till dusk until one, then two adults vocalized. Then three juveniles started hissing. We were able to watch the juveniles fly clumsily between maples at dusk. 

May 22nd-23rd. I took my sister, Fiona and Charlie out to the Ochocos. We camped at Steen's Pillar trailhead. It was a surprisingly damp and misty evening. Just before it got dark I heard a flammulated owl singing. Despite my best efforts I could not see him-the trees by the small creek where he was singing were giant ponderosas. In the area I also heard what I am pretty sure were juvenile saw whet owls begging. 

It was a cold damp night, made worse by the constant song of the flammulated-taunting me to go out again and try and find him.

The next morning we hiked Steen's Pillar trail, then checked out the painted hills before returning to forest road 2610. We camped by a beautiful meadow. I had hopes of finding a great gray owl, but didn't. Once it got dark Fiona stayed with Charlie, freeing me up to pursue flammulated owls. I didn't find any flammulated owls, but heard a  spontaneous singing saw whet owl. I was able to get amazing views of this bold little owl descend down the branches of spruce in series of short flights-almost like a person would descend a flight of stairs. 

May 24th. The whole family walked around Oaks Bottom. At the south end a scolding robin gave up a roosting screech owl.

Near the regular site just south of the mausoleum I found a second screech owl. I suspect that the two birds are not a pair because they were about 500m apart. 

May 30th. The whole family stayed at a cabin south of Trout Lake, Washington. At dusk I ventured above Pine Side Sno Park and heard a flammulated owl 1/2 mile above the park and saw one 2 1/2 miles above the park. The bird I saw was perched on a snag, and I got good views of this tricky mountain owl. 

June 5th-7th. Charlie, Ziggy and I headed south east along highway 26 after work on a Friday. We made it as far as La Pine State Park, where we camped. It was a beautiful, but cold night.

We woke early, cooked a bacon and coffee-based breakfast, then headed south towards Klamath Lake. We ended up along Keno Access road where I had heard several recent reports of a family of great-gray owls. As soon as we pulled in I saw a birder's truck. An even better sign were the incessant begging calls of the young owls. It took just a minute to find the two young owls, perched quite high in a spruce. 

We spent most of the day either hiding out from the hot sun and playing in the creek, or making forays into the forest in search of an adult. (The owlets are great, but the adult is such a fabulous bird and well worth the effort). By evening time we had expanded our search and eventually lucked into an adult). We accidentally flushed the owl, but it landed amazingly close by on a stump. It was just gorgeous. Charlie and I named it cloud owl.

Our next location was the Gold Hill area. We were a  little disappointed to find little old growth and even less opportunities for camping. We settled on a clear-cut where the good people of Jackson County shoot old TVs. No owls, but it was a lovely night. 

The morning was marred by a plague of ticks. Ziggy had over 25 and Charlie had 5! It was a hot drive back to Portland. 

June 14th A week ago I had heard about a spotted owl family in Douglas County. I contacted Janice Reid, a biologist who worked for 30 years on spotted owls. All week I could hardly wait to get out into the forest and look for spotted owls. 
I got up early Sunday morning and drove down to Douglas county to met Janice at a gated road. We met up with the property owner and drove in to some unpromising-looking secondary forest. We took a short hike up a shady laurel-filled canyon. Within a couple hundred yards of the nest a female owl came to check us out.  I think feeding the owls mice has caused them to associate humans with food. Janice quickly found a juvenile which she had banded last week. We had to offer up a couple of white lab mice to locate the second unbanded juvenile. Janice proficiently caught the young owl and banded it. While doing so the female struck her twice, drawing a little blood. We offered up a third mouse in an effort to distract the owl. Watching the big chocolate owl take the mice was amazing. 

Most of the time, about 2 hours, the owl just watched us. It was unbelievable to have such a difficult owl be as obvious as snow. Ah just gorgeous. 

June 21st. The whole family walked around Oak's Bottom. I failed to find any roosting screech at the usual sites, but on the return a scolding robin alerted me to a potential owl. The owl was deep in a wet willow thicket and it took a while to creep through the tangle. I was rewarded for my efforts by a lovely brown screech owl. 

June 27-28th. The whole family went to Federal Way to celebrate Tui's mom's 80th. We stayed at a cabin on Five Mile Lake. Early on the morning of the 27th Tui was woken by a family of noisy barred owls. She woke me and I got to go out in the warm night and hear the end of their performance. 

The next day I got up at 1am and drove to Sunrise on Mt Rainier. I passed three roadside barn owls on Muckleshoot reservation, all perched on utility wires. 

At Sunrise I walked about and listened for the tell-tale calls of begging juvenile boreal owls. I heard none and after 90 minutes it was dawn. 

My luck soon changed and I heard a pygmy owl. Later while searching for roosting boreal owls I flushed a long-eared owl!

July 4th. I returned to Sunrise at Mt Rainier in search of juvenile boreal owls. I spent a couple of hours listing for begging calls, but heard only some wild thing bark far below. All too soon the sky lightened:
Next I worked through the denser stands of firs for roosting boreal owls. I found a downy feather, two small pellets and some whitewash. No boreal though.

July 12. George, Ziggy and I went to Oaks and found a roosting western screech in the usual area. We were able to show it to a couple of appreciative hikers. 

July 18th. The family went to Silver Falls and stayed at a cabin. I got up at 230am and took a drive down to the valley. On the way back to the park I found a great-horned owl by the roadside just north of the park entrance. 

July 27th. Charlie and I went to the south end of Oak's Bottom at dusk. This was the first time I had taken him night owling since he started talking. We taped in a pair of screech owls at dusk and were able to enjoy them flying in silhouette below the canopy of a big maple. Charlie was easily able to track the owls. It was a wonderful little trip.

Aug 2nd. I awoke at 1am and set off to do some owling in the Willamette Valley. My first stop was Willamette Mission State Park. The entrance was gated so I had to walk in. This turned out to be a good thing as I heard a couple of distant barn owls out across the hop fields under a big moon. By the first parking lot I heard a pair of screech owls singing and caught a glimpse of one in flight. 

My next stop was Baskett Slough. I hiked the trail that lead into oak covered grassy hills. I heard a couple of young barred owls begging. I also heard the bark of a screech owl. Back at Livermore road I had a fly-by barn owl. In the old metal barn I found a second barn owl. A distant great-horned called. 

My final stop was McGuire Reservoir near McMinville. Near the dam I found a screech owl flying in front of the car. It was already light, but the little owl sang spontaneously from a patch of alders. In the same area I got a vocal response from a distant pygmy owl.

Aug 7th. I awoke at 130am and set off to Clatsop County. I stopped at Sunset rest area and tried for screech owls there but came up short. Next I tried Fishhawk Falls Hwy for barred owl-again with no results. 

At Jewell State Wildlife Viewing Area I heard a group of coyotes and saw lots of elk. I also heard a screech owl.

Along Beneke Creek road I heard two barred owls by the creek. Higher up I heard three great-horned owls calling well into daylight. I also heard a pair of pygmy owls.

Aug 16th. I awoke at 1am and drove to Brownsmead on the Columbia. It was a beautiful night, complete with shooting stars. I heard a barn owl call from the pastures. The marine air smelled wonderful. 

I then tried for barred owl at a couple of spots near Clatskanie, but failed to find anything. At one point I heard a "woosh" close to my face, but saw nothing. Heading North past Mist I stopped repeatedly for barred owl. At the ninth stop I heard a distant pair, then had a close encounter with a territorial bird. In the opposite direction another pair called. 

By now it was dawn. It was cool and misty in the clear-cuts. I ventured about a half mile down Apiary Road and heard a distant pygmy owl.

Aug 22nd. The family stayed at Beverly Beach State Park. I set my alarm for 3am and woke in a daze and left everyone sleeping in the yurt. I checked the marshy grasslands around Newport Bay, but found none. At Siletz I heard a barn owl in farmland, but was unable to see it. 

I tried for barred and screech owls along the road but found neither. At dawn I heard a pygmy owl in the foothills above the mouth of the Siletz. 

Aug 23rd. George, Ziggy and I took a walk to Oaks Bottom. We found no screech owls, but on the way back we found a great barred owl right by the trail.
Two years ago I saw a barred owl in the same area at the same time of year.

Sep 19th I visited Mt Rainier in search of boreal owls. I arrived early just before dusk:
It was a beautiful evening. In the parking lot I came across a beautiful cascade red fox. Along the trails I heard a chorus of coyotes. I don't find any boreal owls, though I do hear a single soft contact note that piques my attention. Unfortunately I don't hear it again to get a bead on the bird.

Oct 2-3rd. John Fitchen and I made a trip out to the Blue Mountains north of Tollgate. As we drove east along the interstate the wind picked up. We grew increasingly worried that the trip would be a bust. (Owling in the wind can be hopeless). However by the time we reached Tollgate the weather was pretty calm. We worked Skyline for 9 hours and didn't detect any boreals. Tired we retreated from the mountains at dawn. Our drive back wasn't so bad. We saw a lovely, and surprisingly dark great-horned owl near Athena. Revived by espresso in Pendleton the rest of the drive went well-i.e. I wasn't falling asleep at the wheal. At the eastern end of the Columbia Gorge we saw 6 big horn sheep. 

Oct 24th. My Dad, Charlie and I were staying at a yurt in Nehalem State Par. Just after dark i went to the airfield. I played a recording of great-horned owl through Jawbone speaker-this has way more bass and volume than the little Imaingo I usually use. Immediately I got a distant response way to the east. The owl never came in. 

Oct 31st. The whole family walked out to Reed Canyon on a mild cloudy Saturday. (Earlier in the week Rhett had jet me know a barred owl had been relocated in the Canyon). On the way up we saw nothing interesting. But on the return we heard a murder of crows. Now as obvious as snow an unhappy looking barred owl flinched as the crows launched their attacks. 

Nov 1st. The whole family went to Tualatin Hills Nature Park. I have tried there a few times for barred owl. On the way out of the park, we found a lovely gray barred owl, low in a maple tree, bathed in sun light. This was my first for Washington County. 

Nov 7th. I got up at 2am and drove down to Linn County. Just south east of Stayton, along Kingston-Lyons Drive I started owling next to small woodlots. At my first woodlot I heard a bran owl calling. It was a slightly shorter note than the usual territorial scream. 

Next I tried a small copse of oaks for screech owl. Surprisingly a barred owl responded with a subdued call-I am not sure of the significance of this call-it was a multi note call, like the territorial song, but lacking in emphasis.

At the next site-mixed creek side forest, I taped for screech owl again. In some oaks a nearby screech replied with two barks. In the distance a great horned sang, and a minute later a barn owl screeched. I tried a stand of Doug firs for saw-whet, and immediately got a saw whet's slightly double note call in response. 

I decided to return home via Marion county. In the foothills of the cascades I heard a saw whets loud whining screech-a call which reminds me slightly of the begging call of a young Strix, but less rough sounding. A little before dawn I heard a slightly pumping deep muffled hooting of a great-gray owl! 

An epic night!
 Later that morning, George, Ziggy and I hiked from our house through Reed Canyon in search of barred owls. We drew a blank on the way through the canyon, but on the return I found a whitewash-splattered tree at the west end of the canyon. I lovely barred owl peered down at us. It stood on one leg, the other dangled below the perch-something I have never observed before. Perhaps it is hurt?

Nov 11th. George, Charlie and I walked up Reed Canyon, we found a lovely barred owl roosting in the same young Doug fir that we found it in on the 7th.

Nov 14th-15th. I left home around 830pm, just after the boys went to bed. My first stop was the area just south west of Hood River. Along Riordan Hill Dr I had a saw whet respond with two short alarm calls in response to a barred owl recording.

On Post Canyon Dr I had a barred owl fly in silently into a Doug Fir. This was a new county owl for me. 

My next stop was to work to area above Mossier for saw-whet owl. I started up Huskey Road. My first couple of stoops were thick with wood smoke from household fires. The hill sides are a patch work of small oaks and conifers. I took Wilson Road back to Mossier and heard a saw-whet alarm call a couple of times in response to a saw-whet tape. Another new county owl.

Nov 21st. George Ziggy and I went to Reed Canyon. It was a bright, cold morning and I had a rare hangover. I found the barred owl in the usual small conifer at the West end of the canyon.

Nov 22nd. I got up at 215am and drove to Lincoln County. I stopped at Rose Lodge to read the map. I heard footsteps running and then a tap on the passenger window. My heart skipped a beat, but it ended up being OK, a young guy told me his car had been stolen and he needed a ride to Salem. I told him I would help him out in a couple of hours. 

I then owled the road out to Three Rocks. Early on I heard a saw-whet sing in response to my tape. I was surprised to have it sing in the fall, especially on a cold frosty night. Despite my best efforts I was unable to find great-horned, barred or screech owls. Sill it was beautiful to smell the wet forest and hear the waves break. 

I wrestled whether to pick up the stranded guy, his story seemed off. If my car had been stolen I would have called the police or phoned a friend. I eventually decided to help the guy out, and stopped in the predawn gloaming at Rose Lodge. I was kind of relieved that he wasn't there. A few miles down frosty Highway 18 I found the guy hitch-hiking. He seemed really happy to have been picked up. He introduced himself as Jesus, and told me a story that didn't jive about the car, where he was from and where he was going. I was beginning to regret picking him up, when I saw him reach into his pant leg. He brought out a nylon dog leash, that he wrapped around his knuckles. I honestly don't know what he was doing, Jesus was a slight guy and I don't think he could have overpowered me with a dog leash. Still it made for an uneasy ride. I let Jesus know I had two boys, ie. that I would be missed. We got to Salem, and Jesus got out by the bridge, thanking me sincerely for the help.

Nov 28th. I followed up on a report by Paul Sullivan of a short-eared owl at Scappose Bottoms. It was a beautiful sunny afternoon and I brought Charlie with me. I had to wait for about a half hour, before the owls started to emerge from the wet grass. In all 4 or 5 owls came out. Two circled very high above the field and then dispersed to places unknown. One of the remaining females squabbled with a northern harrier. At times the bigger raptor would harass the owl, yet at others the owl would chase the harrier.  

Nov 29th. Ziggy and I walked to Oak's Bottom. I found a roosting screech owl in one of the regular ash trees. This is the first roosting screech at Oaks for me in months. 

Dec 7th. It was a warm rainy night. Ziggy and I were out walking in Westmoreland Park after dark. I  saw a silhouetted owl flew into a bare oak tree. I got up close enough to see it illuminated by a street light-a lovely hunting barred owl!

Dec 12. George, Ziggy and I took a rainy walk to Reed Canyon. As soon was we arrived I could hear crows. It took us just a minute to find a roosting barred owl low in the usual conifer. 

Dec 13th. Tui, Charlie, George and I took a walk in Reed Canyon today. The beautiful barred owl was roosting in the same fir today. Charlie was pretty excited because he found him by looking for the white-wash, then looking up. We got to watch him scratching his neck with huge cat-like legs! 

Dec 19th. I went out birding with John. Our first stop was Reed Canyon where we quickly found the resident barred owl at it's usual roost tree.

Later that afternoon Charlie and I took a walk around the east side of Oaks Bottom and I found the screech owl in the usual crack in an old ash tree.

Dec 21st. I was walking Ziggy around Westmoreland Park before dawn. It was miserable out, cold and rainy. I saw a barred owl hunting from the same tree that I had seen it in about two week agos. Their was a nearby street light that the owl may have been using to illuminate wet mice below.