[Tweeters] Ellensburg Great Horned Owlets - 5/16/14

Barbara Deihl barbdeihl at comcast.net
Sat May 17 01:05:09 PDT 2014

Went back again yesterday - 2 friends also went, but earlier than I. And I stayed later than they. They saw one drowsy owlet and one adult midmorning - on the nest tree and on the birch tree next to it. Lighting is bad in the morning - sun-in-optics-lens issues.

We came back twice later in the day - at 5 p.m. and saw the adult female - came back after dinner for the real show, which, by the way was still going on, similarly to Wed. evening. Both chicks eventually appeared and started hopping, flapping and CLIMBING up branches. BOY they have huge feet and talons !!! Mom (theirs) was always watching them. The owlets started begging for dinner. After sneaking out the back door, Mom reappeared with a nice, plump rodent and delivered it to one of the young in a 'back room' of the spruce tree (nest tree) - the other kid flapped and jumped his way into the 'dining room' and seemed to be trying to share the meal - it was like a "Punch & Judy" show - the owlets would pop up and look toward the road, drop down again, disappear/reappear, while Mom rolled her eyes (i.e. waited patiently until she could go over some more proper table manners and maybe the details of what they would be doing after dinner. This practice area, dining room and stage were all below the large stick nest. Too bad my friends left before the "REALLY BIG SHOW" occurred, around 8:30!

This, I was told by OwlWiseOne, aka Paul Bannick, is the Great Horned Owl version of "fledging" - not exactly a "first flight", but an indication they are strengthening those leg and wing muscles and readying themselves in other ways to get out in the big world, never to return to the nest. (Please correct me or add to this, if I didn't quite get it straight, Paul). :-)

Whether or not there will be much more action visible in or around the nest tree (and intertwined birch tree and the large deciduous tree in front of the birch (just noticed that tree as I drove back past the site after doing more prowling up the road) -this whole set-up does make quite a nice playground for a few days (or more?)) By the way, I did scare up 2 Common Poorwills from the road, after dark.

So, if you are planning to go to an owl show there Sat. or Sun., you may or may not be lucky. But a real key is that 8-9 p.m. has been a real action-packed time of day, with much better lighting.

We shared scopes, stories and info with some neighbors from around there, as well as a person from Seattle, in the area for the bluebirds, and another person who had just seen a Prairie Falcon during his birding day (friends and I didn't see any PRFA all day). It reminded me of some of the urban Merlin neighborhood experiences I've had and enjoyed so much. Kee-kee !

Yes, there will be photos once we go through our hundreds and cull out the best ones. I'll post those later.

But I did want to let you all know that the GHOWlets were still there as of yesterday (Fri.) Hope to hear from a few of you about what you see there this weekend.

What a grand experience this has been so far. Oh, and it was a beautiful day yesterday , with a pretty stiff wind at times, though. The owls didn't seem to notice...

Barb Deihl
North Matthews Beach - NE Seattle
barbdeihl at comcast.net

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