24 June 2024

Posts Tagged ‘great horned owl’


Thursday, December 30th, 2021
Golden Eagle, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 30 December 2021.
Golden Eagle.

For my birthday today, I had a wintry, windy, bright, fun morning hike with the Captain. Seeing as how it was above freezing, I decided not to wear a winter coat—and nearly regretted it—but after a while the sun (and exercise) counter-balanced the brisk wind quite nicely.

Few birds, a couple rabbits, lots of deer. Then, on our return, I happened to spy two eagles circling in the blue above the ridge. A birthday gift for sure.

Then, this late evening while taking Jack out one last time, I heard the voice of a Great Horned Owl—only my second Utah owl.

Snow and colder air coming. (It’s winter, after all.)

Grandeur Peak Area List
At 9:28 MST, I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch** (v)
2. Black-billed Magpie** (v)
3. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
4. Rock Pigeon*
5. Pine Siskin (v)
6. Black-capped Chickadee
7. Common Redpoll
8. Golden Eagle


Mountain Cottontail
Mule Deer

(v) Voice only
*Also elsewhere
**Voice only elsewhere

Liquid spring

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

Pussy willow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Pussy willow.

Such a sunny morning. So spring-like. (Which makes sense, I guess, considering it’s spring.) The snow of two days ago turned out to be—naturally—benign. Most of it had melted already by the time the morning grew old. The temperature soon lifted high into the 40s (F), and birds were singing everywhere. Through the windows I heard song sparrows, house finches, crows. While doing breakfast dishes I looked out to see what at first appeared to be a person, perhaps a child in costume, stooping down and moving about in the neighbor’s yard. But it wasn’t a person, it was a turkey. A male wild turkey, in full display.

Wild turkey (Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Wild turkey (male in mating display).

I stepped out and at once heard a phoebe calling—first of the year. Then juncos from the low trees out back. The juncos were chipping and trilling. And then I heard a thin call from above and looked up to see a pair of bohemian waxwings perched high in the branches of the big oak. House sparrows chirped. Chickadees singing fee-bee!

I decided this would be a good day to begin my taxes and proceeded to spend more than four hours looking for last year’s return. I quickly found the previous ten years’ returns but then ended up doing some major spring cleaning—going through piles of paperwork, tossing out old magazines, filing keepsakes and old letters, uncovering important notes and receipts and letters—until I finally found what I was looking for in the back of a filing cabinet downstairs. Whew.

At that point it was time to get out in this beautiful, cloudless day.

Bohemian waxwing, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Bohemian waxwing.

As dog and I pulled into the parking lot, I could see that others had been there. Maybe only one or two others, but certainly we weren’t the only ones to take advantage of the fair weather by hiking the wooded Beech Hill trails. The track had gone slushy already, and plenty of muddy earth showed through. I heard chickadees right away and robins before long. I wondered if the fox sparrows would still be hanging around—and they were. Figured we’d head clear to the summit, so we did. Whereas the forest trails had been relatively calm, it was really blowing up there.

Fox sparrow, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Fox sparrow.

We rounded Beech Nut and were about to head back down when I spotted a big bird floating on the breeze down over the crest of the southern slope. A hawk. A harrier, I felt sure, but it dipped down before I could get a good look. Well, that was all it took to convince me to take Jack down the open trail (where he wanted to go anyway). We descended around the first long curve, and I saw the bird again up toward the summit. A harrier, no question. I watched it rise, head into the wind, then wheel about and soar quickly back around to our left and off down the eastern hillside. Tried for some photos but got only blurry ones. First of many harriers up there in 2011, I’m sure.

Not much happening down the lower trail, but we did meet a young couple ascending with a dog. We exchanged pleasantries, agreed that it was a lovely day. As we walked, the upper branches of the young hardwoods clattered and squeaked in the wind. Stopping to listen, I thought how much this ambient woodland music sounded like human voices—like unintelligible conversations at a dinner party.

Back home, a junco flitted away as I pulled in. A cardinal was singing in the distance—and another chipped nearby. I watched it hop around in the bare oak and maple branches for a while. Heard a pileated woodpecker’s call. Then a hairy woodpecker’s.

Later, in gloaming, I stepped out and was listening to a woodcock’s peent! from across the road when I noticed a large silhouette perched on an oak branch overhanging the parking lot. The shape had “ears.” A great horned owl. Not the best conditions for photographs, but I sure tried. The owl finally grew tired of my attentions and flew off up the hill.

Dinner dishes, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Dinner dishes.

An achingly starry night tonight. But I hear tell that more precipitation will soon be on its way.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 3:15 p.m., I hiked the wooded trails.

1. Black-capped chickadee
2. American robin
3. Fox sparrow
4. Northern harrier


5. American crow
6. Wild turkey
7. Dark-eyed junco
8. House finch
9. House sparrow
10. Eastern phoebe
11. Song sparrow
12. Bohemian waxwing
13. Herring gull
14. Northern cardinal
15. Pileated woodpecker
16. Hairy woodpecker
17. American woodcock
18. Great horned owl

Great horned owl, Glen Cove, Rockport, Maine, 03 April 2011.

Great horned owl.

Owl season

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

Maple leaves, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 13 October 2010.

Maple leaves.

At about 4:30 a.m. (EDT), I awoke from a dream. The world outside was quiet but for the soft few hoots of a great horned owl. Silence. Silence. The hoots of an owl. Silence. Silence. Silence. An owl’s hoots.

I did get back to sleep, and then, a couple-three hours later, found myself listening to a harangue of crows—must’ve been a dozen of ’em out back hollering at something. By the time I realized it might’ve been the owl I’d heard earlier and pulled on some clothes and dashed out onto the deck, I could hear only the fading caw-caw-caw-caw! as they escorted whatever it was away.

Not a lot of in-town activity, but while riding my bicycle this afternoon I did catch sight of a grackle flying low across a lawn in Rockport Village. Sort of a surprise.

Yellow-rumped warbler, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 13 October 2010.

Yellow-rumped warbler.

We walked Beech Hill again today in late afternoon, Jack and I. Again sunny, again still, again warmer than you’d expect. A number of cars in the parking lot. A number of yellow-rumped warblers in the turning yellow foliage, itself soaked in the ochre of the afternoon sun. Otherwise, the usual jay, crow, and sharpie. OK, so maybe sharp-shinned hawks aren’t a customary sighting on the hill necessarily, but they fly across in good numbers at this time of year. Two sailed over today—the second one raising a frantic little cloud of ‘rumps down the southern slope.

We stopped at various points along the open trail to listen. I heard a downy woodpecker down across the eastern fields. A song sparrow down there, too. I saw a herring gull against the far water in the distance. A lot of ‘rumps.

Returning, I spotted a good sized bird in somewhat undulating flight in the direction of the sun. Through binoculars—and through a bright halo of sunlight—I saw it was a flicker. As soon as I made the ID (from it’s white backside), the bird lit on the tip of a small hardwood and gave a flicker’s cry.

Heard a white-throated sparrow—then saw another sparrow flit across into a trailside thicket. I tried for a photo, didn’t get much of one. However, checking the photo later confirmed it as a field sparrow, not the white-throat I’d expected.

Down in the parking lot, while taking pictures of colorful, afternoon-lit maple leaves, I heard the high insistent notes of golden-crowned kinglets in the canopy directly overhead of us. One’s call in particular was especially strident. I got him in my binocs—and just then, from another direction, heard the faint beeps of a white-breasted nuthatch.

Tonight the sky seemed especially starlit. The waxing moon set brightly beyond tree limbs going bare. The air temperature dipped rapidly. Bright Jupiter rose.


The open trail, Beech Hill, Rockport, Maine, 13 October 2010.

The open trail.

Beech Hill List
Beginning at 4:45 p.m., I hiked the open trail.

1. Yellow-rumped warbler
2. Black-capped chickadee (voice)
3. Blue jay (voice)
4. American crow (voice)
5. Sharp-shinned hawk
6. Downy woodpecker (voice)
7. Song sparrow
8. Herring gull
9. American flicker
10. White-throated sparrow
11. Field sparrow
12. Golden-crowned kinglet
13. White-breasted nuthatch (voice)


14. Great horned owl
15. Rock pigeon
16. Tufted titmouse
17. Common grackle

Bird Report is a (sometimes intermittent) record of the birds I encounter while hiking, see while driving, or spy outside my window. —Brian Willson

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