Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Burrowing Owl on the Prairie!

We been really hunting for owls on our last few trips. We haven't seen many this year, and had become curious if there are actually fewer of them around. I've been watching our "owl trees" at the Merced and San Luis National Wildlife Refuges without success, and last spring we searched our known owl nests and didn't see much there either. I've had a few fleeting views of Barn Owls while driving home in the darkness, but of course photography was out of the question. I've heard a few Great Horned Owls at night. But our favorite, the Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia) remained elusive. About four days ago we had a quick glance of one on Willms Road in the late twilight, but it wasn't until tonight that I got a good look at one.

I was taking a roundabout route to the CSU Stanislaus campus in the late afternoon and decided to check the north shore of Turlock Reservoir, a spot where I've seen Burrowing Owls before. Out of sheer habit I check a particular barbwire fence along Lake Road where I had seen one a year ago, and much to my surprise, there it was, perched in almost the same exact spot. I guess we recognized each other because it didn't up and fly away when I pointed the camera.

It's nice to see them out and about.

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