14 May 2021

Posts Tagged ‘northern pygmy owl’

Which Owl?

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2021
Mystery owl, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 23 February 2021.
Mystery owl.

I’d been angling for a photo of silent chickadees, as dog and I ascended the snowy trail up wooded Coyote Canyon, when the little birds zipped up ahead and began to call and scold. That’swhen I noticed a larger bird shoot down through the tangles to my left to a perchd. I aimed my camera at it and saw it was a small owl—but I couldn’t focus because of all the leaves and twigs between us. Again and again I tried, to no avail.

Wish I’d thought to grab my binoculars instead, ’cause then I might’ve managed an ID.

Since this was near the place I saw a Northern Pygmy Owl back in November, I assumed that’s what it was. But in looking at the blurry photos later, I couldn’t be sure. Its face seems to resemble a Northern Saw-whet Owl, but at the time (and in the photos), it looks like this bird has a long tail (the mark of a pygmy owl).

Still kind of leaning toward the latter—but I guess I’ll never know.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:57 a.m. (MST), I hiked several hundred feet up a mountain.

1. Dark-eyed Junco
2. Lesser Goldfinch** (v)
3. Black-capped Chickadee**
4. American Robin* (v)
5. Spotted Towhee (v)
6. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay**
7. House Finch* (v)
8. Rock Pigeon*
9. Townsend’s Solitaire
10. Black-billed Magpie** (v)
11. Owl (sp?)
12. Northern Flicker (v)


13. European Starling
14. Eurasian Collared-dove
15. Song Sparrow


Mountain Cottontail
Mule Deer

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

Li’l Owl

Friday, November 20th, 2020
Northern Pygmy Owl, East Millcreek, Salt Lake City, Utah, 20 November 2020.
Northern Pygmy Owl.

The temperature dipped last night, so dog and I enjoyed a brisk, bracing hike. The usually species, mostly—including a young Mountain Cottontail—but my first batch of juncos sparked my interest. They seemed a little more upset with our approach than usual (usually they flit away). I tried to keep track, hoping for a photo.

Saw movement in a juniper ahead of us, pointed my camera in that direction, and saw a cool-looking unfamiliar bird. Some kind of very small hawk or owl. My first Utah owl. I had no idea what it was. I thought perhaps a saw-whet (which species I’ve heard but not seen in person), but the tail seemed too long. Got a bunch of pics and figured I’d look it up when we got back home.

Which I did. My first-ever Northern Pygmy Owl. A tiny terror.

Been a while since I’ve had a lifer. I’ve saved the memory of its sighting for recall in the future.

Grandeur Peak Area List
Beginning at 8:17 a.m. (MST), I hiked a few hundred feet up a mountain.

1. House Finch**
2. Woodhouse’s Scrub-jay
3. American Goldfinch (v)
4. Black-billed Magpie*
5. Spotted Towhee
6. Northern Flicker** (v)
7. Pine Siskin (v)
8. Black-capped Chickadee
9. Downy Woodpecker
10. Juniper Titmouse (v)
11. Dark-eyed Junco
12. Northern Pygmy Owl‡


13. House Sparrow
14. European Starling
15. Mourning Dove


Mountain Cottontail
Red Squirrel (v)

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

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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