What an exciting bird day!!!!
First, I planned on going into work late today because Time Warner was coming to install our new digital phone line. They got everything done very quickly and I had an hour and a half before I went to work. The great gray in St. Paul is just a hop, skip and a jump from The Raptor Center so I decided to go for it! I packed Cinnamon up, along with my binos and digital camera. When I turned off of Cleveland onto Hendon, birders were everywhere. There were so many MOU board members combing the streets that we could have had a meeting and voted on a few issues (nothing gets a quorum together like a stake out bird). I walked towards the front of my trusty Saturn wagon and low and behold were copious amounts of avian dejecta--owl sign!
Owl whitewash in front of my car, a good omen (at least for birding).
One of the neighbor ladies was walking her dog and offered her suggestions of where the great gray owl had been spotted. We followed her down the allies looking in every possible tree. We got excited when we heard some mobbing of blue jays, chickadees and a gray squirrel, but it turned out to be a sharp-shinned hawk cruising the hood.
We turned the corner and ran into the neighborhood mail carrier who excitedly asked, "Have you seen that owl? I saw it four times on my route yesterday!" Bob Janssen (bird author and hard core state lister) good naturedly grumbled, "I've been birding and listing birds all my life and the mailman has a great gray owl in Ramsey County before I do!"
One of the neighbors poked her head out her window and asked the lady walking her dog and trailed by six people with binos in hand, "Did you see the owl yet? This morning it was in Sadie's yard about 2 blocks that way." A car pulled up and another helpful neighbor pointed to the house she had observed the owl two hours previous--we were closing in!
Sure enough, Bill George called us over and there was the great gray in full view sitting about 15 feed above the sidewalk. It sat for a few minutes trying to hunt and then flew across the street--I don't think it was afraid of us, but we were making such a racket that the birds was trying to hunt in a quieter spot. For those concerned, the owl was observed at least once taking some prey by Tami. Another good thing is that the bird is being watched by all the neighbors and is mere blocks from The Raptor Center. If it needs help, it will get it quickly.
My photo from my digital camera of the Great gray owl in a St. Paul neighborhood.
Other exciting news includes two goshawk sightings (one out behind our store). More on that later. And an almost complete albino red-tailed hawk is hanging out in Eden Prairie. It was spotted today hunting the marsh behind Buca di Beppo!
The birding is great in the Twin Cities right now, so relieve some stress and chase some birds!