Thursday, August 29, 2019

The Day I Thought I Finally Saw a Great Horned Owl on the Tuolumne River

I feel kind of bad for the Great Horned Owls that live along the Tuolumne River Parkway Trail. I've only seen them a few times, and one of those times, the owl was being mobbed by a bunch of angry crows. The other time, the owl constructed a nest in the top of one of the big oak trees, and I was anxiously awaiting a look at some owlets. Tragically, a huge windstorm hit and the entire nest was dislodged, and it plummeted to the ground.
The owls are nocturnal of course, and the hours for hiking the trail don't include the night, so I have to pin my hopes on seeing one sleeping up high in the trees. A week ago I thought I had finally spotted one. The outline was in the right kind of place, and looked to be the right shape, but when I got the camera on it and zoomed in, I had a real surprise. That was no owl!
So I got a quick education. During the plentiful times, a hive may be full of bees and honey, and space becomes a problem. A queen will lay some queen-type eggs, and then leave for a new home with thousands of drones in tow. Scout bees will look for a new hollow for the hive, and the bees will rest together in a large mass. They apparently will hang around for a few hours or days until the scouts have located an appropriate spot. The bees then start a new hive.

So much for my Great Horned Owl!

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