buried in shavings

February 28, 2011
Cool, clear, and breezy, 68 F.
As I sat in the garage door at 6:46pm, I heard a monotonic trill from the direction of the backyard. A minute later, an owl flew through the Gap (b/w the house and garage) and landed in the crepe myrtle tree down the driveway. It stayed about a minute and a half, trilling twice (monotonic “low” pitch, suggesting male) before flying east over E’s roof. Eight minutes later, an owl reappeared from the west and landed in almost the same spot in the crepe myrtle. It trilled once and left about 7:05pm. At 7:12pm, there was an owl in the nest box, head out, just finishing a bout of trilling. It left, returned a minute later, and got down in the bottom of the box, where it fluffed the shavings so vigorously that it almost buried itself.

February 27, 2011
Pm cold front coming; brisk south wind at 74F

The owls, both, are almost constantly in the driveway; the cherry laurel is in full bloom and is a target for moths.
8pm; owls in the crepe myrtle over the driveway
10:30pm; owls in the crepe myrtle over the driveway. They have been out there together every time we have been out. Seems like courtship behavior, so maybe this new male will ‘take’.

February 23, 2011
AM, misty drizzle and warm
6:10am, As we came out of the front door onto the sidewalk an owl flew right over our heads, going west.
6:65am, an owl arrowed up the driveway, probably to the roost in the yarn N of us.
PM, 71 F; overcast, moist, very light breeze
Tons of katydids shrieking.
6:38pm, an owl arrived at the branch near the nestbox from the west, flying over the middle of our house. He (?) sat for a long time (ca. 5 minutes), trilled softly three or four times, and did a little feather preening. At 6:43pm he flew to the Driveway Branch, trilled again softly, and then flew north through the gap between the house and garage (at about 6:45pm).
At 6:50pm, an owl flew south through the Gap and landed again on the Driveway Branch. In this position, I could not see it well enough to get any impression of its size, or to guess at its gender. After about a minute and a half, it flew south through down the driveway.
At 6:58pm, an owl flew to the Stub perch over the compost, arriving from the north over our garage roof. It could possibly have been large enough to be the female. After less than a minute, it flew to the external perch of the nest box, and after about 20 seconds, flew NE to the roof. It sat for a while and then flew NE.
8:48pm; both owls landed on the nest box perch. He entered, but she departed. Inside the box, he began a session of ‘box calls’/’Geiger counter calls’. He left again at 8:50pm. Shortly after, C spotted the two owls sitting side-by-side in the crepe myrtle. They were pecking and stroking and sidleing but not jumping on top of each other or anything like that.
9:10pm, male entered nest box again for another session of ‘box calls’, then moved back outside to external perch.

February 21, 2011
saw an owl at the perch entrance at 2AM
PM, 74 F; still in the 70’s and breezy
Tons of katydids shrieking.
6:40pm, an owl arrived on the branch near the nestbox from the north, apparently flying southward over the roof of our garage. Within 2 seconds, it was joined on the same branch by a second, larger owl (at this point, I realized that the first owl was the male). The male flew to the nest box and entered, while the female watched from the branch. I heard a bit of scratching, perhaps the sound of the male climbing down inside the box. However, I was unable to hear if he trilled from inside the box. The female flew NE towards E’s back yard. About 20 seconds later, the male left the nest box and followed the female northeastward.
9:08pm, faint trilling over the microphone; a couple of times
9:10pm, male arrived at the nest box; perched in the entrance doing the box call. Every few minutes he lapses into a strong monotonic trill. Gone out the entrance at 9:15pm
9:22pm, the owl returned, jumping into the box, then to the entrance to continue his box call. He sat silently for several minutes, then launched. We didn’t hear any response from the female.
9:40pm, an owl is calling from outside the box.

February 20, 2011
AM, saw an owl at the perch entrance at 2AM
PM, 69 F. Mild and very breezy
Tons of katydids shrieking again. One started up next to my ear as I sat in front of the garage watching for owls. I had to rattle a shovel handle a couple of times to get it to shut up and to avert damage to my hearing.
7:00pm, an owl flew north up the driveway, through the Gap. At 7:03pm, an owl flew back south through the Gap and landed on the branch over the driveway. It looked large, and because this is a favorite perch for the female owl, I’m guessing this was her. She stayed less than a minute, and took off southeastward, headed for the street.
9:20pm, owl with its head in the box doing its box call, but quietly, tentatively, then silent. Left 2 minutes later.
9:25pm, owl at the box again, inside and doing the box call, this time in the entrance, facing out and strongly.
9:30pm, high trilling from a female! She came to the perch and trilled back, monotonic to his box call. Yess! She left again in less than a minute to sit on the Stub Perch over the compost pile. He remained in the box, in the entrance, til 9:35pm

February 19, 2011
AM, 60 F. Foggy and drippy

At 6:15am we heard 4 or 5 bouts of monotonic trilling from the driveway area or east of the shop.
PM, another warm day, wind from SE; the katydids are shrieking
6:41pm, one owl into the cherry laurel; left to the E at 6:43p.
8PM, owl on the nest box perch doing the box call; evolves into a monotonic trill every so often. Left at 8:04pm
8:13pm, he’s back, and into the box, to box call from the entrance. Down into the box shavings, still trilling; no response from his female, though it is too dark for me to tell if she is out there, playing coy. Launched again at 8:18pm.

February 18, 2011
PM, 65 F. Clear and fairly calm
6:40pm two owls flew over our house roof, coming from the west or northwest. One flew into the crepe myrtle/cherry laurel thicket and was lost to sight. The other perched on the Honda branch and stayed there for two minutes, until it flew NE around the E side of the shop. C and I both thought the owl on the Honda branch looked small enough to be the male. This is the first time we’ve spotted two owls at once since the hard freeze. I also saw what I think was a flying squirrel entering the woodpecker box over the driveway.
9pm, we heard a bout of monotonic trilling, possibly from the driveway area

February 17, 2011
PM, 68 F. Clear and fairly calm
At 6:41pm, male owl flew through Gap to the driveway, coming from the north, and landed on Stub perch over the compost. He stayed about 1 and a half minutes, then flew NE, headed east of the shop, or to E’s back yard. Moon is very bright, full tonight.
9 pm, male owl entered nest box and started a lengthy session of “box call” / Geiger-counter calls, with relatively few interspersed monotonic trills. At 9:15pm he gave a long, monotonic trill. His whole body vibrates when he does this. A minute later he flew from the nest box. At 9:24pm, he was back inside the box, heralded by a long, monotonic trill. At 9:26pm he was down in the bottom of the box, energetically fluffing the shavings. A couple of minutes later C drove in the driveway. The owl flew from the box (could have been coincidence).

February 16, 2011
PM, 66 F. Clear and fairly calm
6:30, talking with neighbors at the foot of our driveway; JP saw what thought was an owl flying across the driveway toward the box .
9:30pm I heard four monotonic trill bouts from the driveway. Owl was not on the box. It is good to know there is at least one owl around after the cold temperatures

February 14, 2011
AM, 58F; a big hawk flew from the pecan to the NE of us just at dawn.
PM, 65; Clear and fairly calm
Watched from 6:30 to 7:00 pm and saw no owls. Starting to get worried about owl survival at prolonged low temperatures.