Trip Report, Rockland Audubon Society

 

Trip: Stony Point Battlefield State Historic Site, Owl Prowl

 

Date: February 12, 2010

 

Leader:  Della and Alan Wells, hosted by Julia Warger, Site Manager.

 

Participants: Approximately 39, but between the darkness and bundles of warm clothes, it was impossible to identify most individuals. We were able to identify at least Jim Previdi, Dan Albantides, Peter Johnson, Tom Rowe, and Frank Kemmer.

 

Weather: Surprisingly clear and warm for a February night!

 

Highlights: A number of cooperative Eastern Screech Owls. Difficult to tell how many, but we guess at least 7 or 8. But the “highlight of the night” award goes to two last-minute entries (unfortunately many people had left by this point). As we were waiting for the train to move on (one of the unfortunate drawbacks of the Battlefield), we decided to give the Screech Owl call one last try. In short order two Screech Owls arrived, one a Red Phase and the other a Gray Phase. The Red Phase landed in a low tree, about 10 ft off the ground while the Gray Phase perched about 5-10 ft away on a rock. Both sat about 20 ft away from us and stayed for 10-15 minutes, allowing everyone excellent looks and photo ops! A great side-by-side comparison of the two color phases.

 

Lowlight: The uncooperative Great Horned Owls.  Julia has seen them recently, so they are around. However, we were unable to detect any sign of them.

 

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Figure 1. The first Eastern Screech Owl to arrive was this Gray Phase. Taken at Stony Point Battlefield on February 12, 2010. Photo by Alan Wells.

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Figure 2. This photogenic Red Phase Eastern Screech Owl sat for 10-15 minutes.  Taken at Stony Point Battlefield on February 12, 2010. Photo by Alan Wells.

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Figure 3. Same Red Phase Eastern Screech Owl, different pose!  Taken at Stony Point Battlefield on February 12, 2010. Photo by Alan Wells.

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Figure 4. This Gray Phase Eastern Screech Owl perched about 5-10 ft away from the Red Phase, but on a rock.  Taken at Stony Point Battlefield on February 12, 2010. Photo by Alan Wells.