Sunday, February 24, 2008

My Owl Field Trip

When I first found out that the Thorn Creek Audubon Society was going to have an owl field trip, my ears perked up like a puppy that just heard the word, "treat!" Oh Boy OWLS!
Then I realized this trip was in the morning and I thought....Owls in the day? No way Jose! How are we going to find owls during the day?
Well, thanks to leader Juanita, the "owl whisperer" who has been scoping the Bartel Grassland area for 16 years, she knew exactly where to find them!
Speaking about perky "ears".....

This is the long eared owl. Too bad the picture isn't the best. This is the first time I've ever seen them in the wild, so I didn't mind at all! According to the Cornell site, they are endangered in Illinois and rarely seen. I seen it! I seen it!
Juanita states that the long eared is this far south because it's very snowy up north and he has come here for food. We had to walk softly and quietly to his perch because he spooks easily. I never realized how loud the crunching snow is under your feet! We didn't scare him off luckily and enjoyed his presents for a good 15 minutes before we left.
At our next location we found the saw-whet owl...

I saw it! I saw it! Get it....saw-whet!
I love the saw-whet owl! He's a little round ball of fluff. This character didn't mind at all that we were there. He opened his eyes and actually yawned! Yawned! As if to say, "Oh those boring humans again." I had to laugh.
I love this picture of him, too bad that branch is in the way!

If you're wondering how I took these photos (the owls were near the tops of the pine trees), I bought a little toy! It is a Celestron scope. Very cheap! I'm cheap not because I want to but because I have to!
I'm not able to use it with my digital camera but I am able to use it with a 35mm film camera. Needless to say, I raced to Walgreen's to develop the film after the field trip.

This is just a nice picture of the surroundings, the snow is covering a frozen pond. I was very glad to see a mild sunny windless day, about 25ºF. Perfect for an owl field trip. Thanks to Juanita the owl whisperer, we were able to see our owl friends during the day. I would have never guessed!