Saturday, April 30, 2016, Day 35

AM, T=75°
6:20 AM, light already but the owlets are still rasping right outside the  shop east window. We can see one parent and one chick, can hear two.
10 AM, humid; from St’s yard I can locate both parents in the tree east of the shop window, each with one owlet next to it. Didn’t want to stare and scare, so I didn’t stay and peer.
P.m., still near 80° from a high of 84. Mosquitoes are really bad now. Up in the upstairs shop we watch out the window. Two owlets are right there – one on the fence, one on the rack of bamboo right under the window,  both rasping away.  The female gave a warning hoot. We thought it was us (and, indeed, she doesn’t like us there), but I also  spied a  black cat going down the driveway. Time to back off.
Still have not seen the third fledgling.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016, day 32
AM, at 5:30 T= 68, at 6:30 T=62°F, 0.7″ rain
5:15 AM, a line of thunderstorms came through with strong gusty wind, lightning, and dropping temperature. We wondered how the two fledglings fared in the waving branches over the house. The third nestling is still in the box, huddled in the back corner.
6:20 AM, both parents are hunting in the drippy aftermath of the rain along the driveway and in the backyard. Lots of insect and chuk-chuk noise. It is hard to hear past the light dripping, but there is the rasping noise of hungry chicks in the nest box tree itself. Looks like they didn’t get far.
6:30 AM, a parent hawks an insect off the side of the house. I am watching from the bedroom window – it doesn’t disturb the hyper-vigilant parents and I stay dry. I can see the bobbing and flapping of one owlet up there in the branches behind and on a level with the nest box. Although the remaining owlet in the box can hear them he doesn’t perk up until Madame starts giving food cries from outside the box. Flapping, pecking, turning in circles, but he doesn’t want to get up on the perch. When he finally does (Madame’s siren calls) he sidles cautiously to the entrance hole, reluctant to put his head out. It must seem like this hole ate his siblings. But he can hear them… hear her… I have great hopes he will take the plunge…
6:40am, a hawk wings silently over head, going east. Madame and the fledglings fall silent. It is now getting too light for the third to fledge. Nuts. The remaining owlet will spend a long, hungry, lonely day.
7:20am, grackles are mobbing in the crepe myrtle. On investigation I find an adult and one fledgling. Where is the other one? Still hidden? separated? knocked to the ground in this morning’s storm?
The other parent is snug and dry under the eave where the cam wires come into the house.

Tuesday, April 26, 2016, day 31
AM, T=72; partly cloudy, humid and windy.
5:40 AM, all three chicks are on the bottom of the box and quiet. Heard descending trills from the female in the driveway an hour ago.
PM, T=79; cloudy and windy, darkening early because of the overcast tonight
T is watching from the garage steps. 7:45 PM, male is already sitting on the fence below his window ledge roost. He is hunting, sitting still and scanning in all directions. When I first saw him he was gazing straight up. 8 PM flies east of the shop.
8:06 PM, food delivery.
C is watching from the other end of the driveway, behind the car. Watched the female give her bug to the kids at the entrance. She then flew west over our roof. The male was hunting in the driveway. When he sees me he comes and perches directly over my head, 5 feet up. I prudently take one step back in case he expresses his opinion materially. He watches me for an unnerving two minutes, deciding if I am a threat to his family, then shifts to the crêpe myrtle to continue his hunting. We both go back inside.
Sometime between 9 and 10 PM to owlets fledge. We were busy and did not see it. The third remaining nestling is looking very lonely and was not fed by the time we quit watching at 11pm. The two fledglings apparently landed in the upper branches over the driveway. Parents fit them at least three times, and we heard the raspy.
11 PM the remaining nestling has moved back under the camera on the interior perch.

Saturday, April 23, 2016, day 28
A.m., T=60°. Absolutely wonderful clear blue day, and cool.
The male and female are roosting side-by-side way up in the oak over our house and across from and about 25 feet west of the nest box. The owlets have been peering from the entrance all day. A fledgling robin–the only one left?–has been making loud feed me feed me calls from the crepe myrtle. How long will this fledgling robin escape the owls?
PM; warm afternoon, lightly breezy and continuing absolutely wonderful.
8 PM, adult owls have left their roost. Madame went straight to the little robin tree, to the intense and vocal distress of both robin parents. Is she contemplating a pounce on the robins?
8:14 PM an owl zooms from the weaving oak across the front of the shop, headed for St’s backyard.
8:15 PM, food delivery to the box.
In the box, all three owlets are now climbing either to the entrance or up onto the interior perch. The lucky one in the entrance gets many bugs, but apparently you can’t cling and chew at the same time, so they have to drop to the floor to finish eating.
8:50 PM, yet another moth, at least five so far.

Friday, April 22, 2016, day 27
A.m.; T=65°, at last back to some sunny weather. The robin’s clutch is scattering early, some still in the nest but one above my head and one on the lowest branch. Not much margin for flying error for this one.
10 AM, I found find yet another robin baby in the tangle of branches on the leaf pile, and get some good pictures I hope.
11 AM, and there is yet another one – or is it one of the same ones – by the canoes on the ground in the backyard. I don’t hold out much hope for this one, with so many cats in the area
3 PM, where have all the robins gone?
PM; An owl flies from the weaving oak, down and east across the front of the shop to St’s backyard. Robin scolding from that direction.
8:13 PM steady insects sounds – katydids or white tree crickets?
8:21 PM, owl lands in the pecan and flies east
Bug drops, but not that many

Thursday, April 21, 2016, day 26
AM; T=67°F;
slept in after Siegfried then went to the Rice heart study – no morning observations.
11 AM, another band of rain passed through. I have not located either owl today. Madame stopped by at 3pm to check on the owlets but left soon after. The robin has hatched a clutch in her nest in the burr oak. Probably nerve-racking to be so close to a clutch of bird carnivores.
PM; T=69°; don’t see any activity or roosts or flights
9:40 PM, there have been four bug drops. I don’t know if the parents are already withholding food prior to fledging – seems early but on the other hand there are plenty of bugs and lizards out there to feed the kids. Kids are just dead silent, too. Why?
Spectacularly little to eat tonight.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016, day 25
AM, T=70°F, very light breeze; cloudy, more rain due this afternoon.
5:45 AM, Madame is absent from the box but there is evidence of a bird delivery. Typical morning messy box.
6:45 AM, jay and robin flush an owl from the nest box tree to the heavier coverage of the live oak. The female is spending the morning out of the box.
9:15 AM, female returns to the box.
PM; it is a warm 75° near sundown with clear sky, no wind and rising, full moon.
Just after 8 PM female is in the carport pecan giving soft food begging cries. Katydids are starting to buzz (or tree crickets?) and numerous chuk-chuk’s are calling, one seemingly just below the pecan.
8:30 PM, bug drops are in progress to the box but not extremely frequent ones. There is intense competition between two older owlets for a spot at the entrance, to get first crack at the food. On one occasion, mom comes in with a roach, looks like she’s leaving again, then back in and manages to deposit the roach with the youngest owlet. Was this a deliberate maneuver? on another occasion a parent – male? female? – appears at the entrance with roach, offers it to the closest owlet who does not take it, and after several passes the parent says “oh well” and swallows the roach.

Monday, April 11, 2016
AM, T=71F; it is windy today, and humid. Traffic noise is very loud. Chance of rain is 40%, though it sprinkled during the night.

5:45am, Madame is out, a chick or two staring straight up, quiet.
6:45am, Female has returned to the box, feeding from the cache. The male is hunting the driveway from the little spindly oak, head high; now to the fence top, then the myrtle as I stand behind the car. With complete nonchalance he flew withing two feet of me, plucked something tasty off the side of the porch and returned to his perch to eat it.
Morning is brightening all around and that nosy robin is scolding him. With some amusement I watch him ditch the robin by going up under the eaves of the bay window. We should have remembered that he likes house perches and checked the ledges on our house as well as St’s! He is actually sitting on the cable that carries the cam feed from the owlbox, right where it comes into the house. If there has been static on the feed to the website he is the cause.
7am, Mr. heads for his leafy roost over our roof, just across the driveway from Madame and the chicks.
PM, warm day. Saw a black-and-white warbler today in the computer oak. Flashy zebra bird!
7:53pm, female left the box; she hooked to the left as she planed through the Gap, disappearing into the next yard. Our neighbor there says an owl perched above them yesterday evening as they dined outside under the arbor with friends, to their amusement and the friends’ amazement.
8:01pm, an owl returns from the west onto the back yard, then back through the Gap to the driveway. Lost in the foliage after that.
8:46pm, Madame is still out. Only one bug delivery by her so far.
8:51pm, another bug from her; 9:01pm, one from the male, then another
9:29 and 9:34pm, bugs. Sort of a slow night.

Sunday, April 10, 2016
AM, T=66F, cool and cloudy
6:30am, Female is out of the box. T sits outside on driveway, hearing scolding birds. A robin sits in the grass in the middle of St’s yard, moving west to the next yard, joined by a cardinal. Five minutes later the mobbing has moved to the driveway, then lower branches of the nest tree. Too dark and leafy to see the owl but can hear her angry chittering.
6:43am, mobbing bird is on the box perch, so I hurried inside to check the cam and, sure enough, the female is back in the box
Cedar waxwings are peeping now. It’s breezy.
PM, T=77F; partly cloudy with a good south breeze.
7:34pm, F leaves the box even though it is still so light. Is she just really hungry? Can’t locate her, however. Scolding robin has been orbiting, first in the driveway, next on carport pecan, back to the driveway.
7:53pm, owl on the thistle branch in the back yard. Sits for a couple of minutes then leaves through the Gap to the driveway crepe myrtle.
7:56pm, owl hunting in oak leaves for the next yard east and the F in the myrtle shifts to the laurel
8:16pm, female returns to the box without food but crunches up the bones of something leftover to feed the owlets.
8:28pm, out she goes, and now starts a round of bug deliveries: 8:30 bug, 8:32 bug, 8:38 bug, 8:40 and 8:42 and 8:46 bugs, 8:53 and 8:57 bugs.
9:03pm, Madame returns with, yes, a bug; leaves again at 9:09pm
9:12pm, 9:16, 9:22, 9:25, 9:31 bug deliveries. We give up.

Saturday, April 9, 2016
AM, T=61, overcast
6:45am, Female is in the box, feeding
7am, She is up in the entrance giving her food-begging cry, while the owlets rasp below. It is daylight now—can she really be expecting Mr. to be making more food deliveries?
7:05am, She gets back down on the floor of the box and finds some leftovers to feed.
Cedar waxwings peeping and grackles grackling make the morning green and loud.
PM, coolish; mosquitoes are bad
8pm, Owl through the Gap into the back yard—which one? Robin scolds from somewhere in the driveway.
The owlets now all have eyes open and can sit up. Staring and flapping have begun.