Guadalupe Oak Grove Park

Thursday, November 25, 2004

two owls

I got a call from friends, Frank and Joan, who had just seen an owl perched in a tree in Guadalupe Oak Grove Park. A variety of birds had been mobbing the owl, which caught their attention. It was a Great Horned Owl, which stayed all day, and Lee was able to photograph.

The following week I discovered more birds noisily mobbing something in the same tree. I found an owl and thought this looks like a Long-eared Owl! It seemed unlikely another owl species would happen to roost in the same tree. I checked on the owl again late afternoon and fortunately ran into Charlie Rettner with his camera. I said "have I got a bird for you!!" He climbed up on the rocks and photographed the owl. The next day he sent me a photo, which I emailed to experts for identification. Les Chibana was the first to proclaim it was indeed a Long- eared Owl, the first of the season and rare to this area. Charlie gave us permission to use his photo on our web site. The Long-eared Owl photograph can be viewed on page 3 of our park photos along with our Great Horned Owl pictures.


Blogger Chaotic Heart said...

Cool! I've always loved the outdoors and the sighting of any new bird was a source of great excitement for me!

November 25, 2004 at 6:39 PM  

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Saturday, November 06, 2004

Bobcat and Coyote

I got to Guadalupe Oak Grove Park at 4 pm, after birding on two other trails today. The green grass is a wonderful background for the dark oak trees in low light, and the park looks magical. I found the Lions Mane mushroom which grows on the same tree each winter. The squirrels have been eating it again this year. It was so beautiful three years ago when allowed to mature.

I met two park regulars, Richie and Dorothy with their friends, and told them about my web site. Then I looked for the Townsends Warbler I'd seen in the same location earlier in the week.

A woman with a small white Terrier asked me if I'd seen any Coyotes. I told her no, and she walked on. Then I noticed a large male Bobcat heading her way. I watched as she passed the Bobcat, now hiding behind a small bush beside the trail. It was the same large male cat I'd seen some time ago with an unusual curled tail. The cat then dashed out and ran up the hill and under the fence. I was still watching it when a young Coyote appeared on the ridge stalking the Bobcat. They watched each other for a while, then the Bobcat sat down and began grooming, seemingly uninterested. They were nearly the same size. The Coyote looked at me and then the Bobcat, unsure what to do next. They were about 20 feet apart when they disappeared over the ridge and out of sight.

As I was walking down the Quarry tail I heard an unusual sound. As a birder, I always pursue unfamiliar sounds. Finally I found two Red-breasted Sapsuckers, a juvenile and adult female. The juvenile's head was still downy and it was begging for food, all the while making sweet soft mewing sounds. I watched them for 15 minutes and they were never more than a foot apart. I'm always anxious to find the Red-breasted Sapsucker, which return to the park for a short time each fall. What a wonderful finish to a beautiful day.


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