Sunday, March 3, 2013

This Time Success, March 2

On my way to the east coast, as noted yesterday, I stopped on the way in Columbus to look for the Eastern Screech Owl at Alum Creek South Park.  It was only a 15 minute drive out of my way.  At first I had no success, focusing on the eastern end of the upper beam of the bridge where I saw whitewash on my first visit and again this time.  I could not find the owl.  I walked the bridge west and found a large blotch of fresh whitewash undisturbed by the snow showers on the path.  I looked up and there was the owl or rather the underside of the tail and wings of what appeared to be an Eastern Screech Owl. The owl was hiding behind one of the metal plates in the upper beam of the bridge.  The wing coverts and primaries were a rusty reddish brown like the color of a red phase Eastern Screech Owl.  It was cloudy with snow showers so the light was not very good for photos.  However, the clouds started to break up and the sun showed briefly.  I walked west of the bird and looked back.  I could make out the shape and size as well as the flattened top of the head as well as the tufts on its head.  Without a doubt, it was the Eastern Screech Owl that has been roosting here for at least two winters, maybe more.  See zoomed, cropped photos below in which the lighting was adjusted.

 I left the owl to its daytime slumbers and continued easts on I70.  Because I was successful with the Eastern Screech Owl, I stopped at The Wilds east of Zanesville hoping for a late day sighting of Golden Eagle which over-winters at this location.  The snow showers were much heavier vastly reducing visibility.  I was able to find only two Northern Harriers, one a "grey ghost" male, a very distant Rough-legged Hawk and only one Red-tailed Hawk.  I met Jim McCormac briefly there.  I had not seen Jim for at least two or three years.  Jim was the Secretary of the Ohio Bird Records Committee when I served a term several years ago.  I left The Wilds without a Golden Eagle for my list, which is now 145.  

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