I'm trying hard to focus on the good. I'm incredibly swamped--I still have a post left from the World Series of Birding but there are articles to finish, emails to deal with, trips to lead, blogs to write, etc. I had every intent to just do my time banding at Carpenter this morning and then come home and write, write, write.
Alas, it was not meant to be. Someone reported a long-eared owl in a park a few blocks from our apartment. Even though the bird was seen this morning and I was reading the report in the afternoon, the owl was roosting in a heavily trafficked park. It had made an informed decision to roost in a city park--it would not flush easily and still be there. As soon as I got to the park with my digiscoping equipment, you could hear the angry robins...oh yes, the long-eared was still there.
Tucked and well hidden in the trees, the long-eared owl tried very hard to roost and the robins were making darn sure that sleep would not be an easy one this day. A few other birders were there and we all stayed back on the trail to watch the long-eared. Some people passing through the trail asked if we were looking at another great horned owl and we showed them the long-eared. They were excited and said that just down the trail was a very visible great horned. I went to take a look a few hundred feet down the trail.
Again, these are urban great horneds and they must be very used to people to roost right out in the open. I love having an unexpected two species of owl day just a few blocks from home! It was interesting to note that it was relatively silent compared to over by the long-eared owl. There were several warblers and a few buntings and orioles singing a storm, but they were just territory songs, not alarm songs. Small birds are not high in the list of preferred prey items to a great horned owl. Long-eared owls do eat some small birds and I'm sure the robins are aware of it. It was interesting to note the long-eared roosting so close to the great horned owls...great horneds are known to eat smaller owls, including long-eareds. Hmmm.
And if you are curious about about what angry robins sound like, I did manage to take a small video of the roosting long-eared through my spotting scope. You can hear the angry "cheep cheeps" from the robins. Another interesting note is that this is general robin alarm. When they see a Cooper's hawk in the neighborhood, the robins give a very high pitched down slurred whistle. They did not give that while I was there observing the long-eared: