Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Owling at Lee Metcalf NWR

Two species found on the Refuge by USFS Biologist Dave Lockman at dusk on the December 31 Christmas Bird Count were Great Horned Owl and Short-eared Owl. Viewing location for both was from the Refuge south Kiosk along Wildfowl Lane. True to Dave's description both birds did not appear until nearly dark today. The Great Horned Owl was magical as it swooped in just west of the kiosk and perched in a tree bordering Francois Slough (Burnt Fork Creek) and let loose with a "hoo-hooooo-ho-ho". The Short-eared Owl was a little more difficult; look northeast across the grassland and look for the distinct mothlike flight of this owl. It's possible the Short-ears could hang out here for a while; there are abundant Northern Harriers (counted 11 today) in this location, indication of large prey base of voles. Happy hunting :-)