Sunday, May 15, 2016, Day 50 from hatching
6:15 AM, T=69° – the last of our cool mornings. Got up at and past owl dawn.
Rain again in the afternoon and evening. The owl family is outside the shop window but just hunkering down in the incessant mizzling rain
Went to 11th St./Timbergrove Park, on Jester, this morning with Wendy and birder friend
A great park left natural, with good trails, lots of dead trees and habitat. Got pictures of a redheaded woodpecker but struck out finding a pileated woodpecker. Across the street from the park a man said he had a screech owl in his backyard–the reddest rufous screech owl I have ever seen, imperturbable in his thicket roost. Very cool.
PM, T=75°, seems to be getting warmer again with this rain moving up from the southwest.
Poor owl watching tonight in the rain.
Saturday, May 14, 2016, day 49 out of the egg
AM, T=72°F; got up at & past owl time. They are roosting outside of the shop window this morning.
It got well into the 80s today and popped up some some thunderstorms. T and N came back from Sheldon lake because of lightning.
It was so drizzly all evening that the owls stayed pretty quiet. We weren’t successful watching from any of the windows in the house.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016, day 46
T=75°, partly cloudy, pattering from the trees, streets patchy wet; ugh, humid!
No owlets anywhere around this morning, not in back, not in St’s yard, not in the driveway. I took a walk around the block to check for rasping but found nothing. Looks like they may be migrating farther out.
Tuesday, May 10, 2016, day 45 out of the egg.
1:30 AM, the owlets are rasping from the birdfeeder and adjacent trees out the bathroom window, but quietly.
5:40 AM, T=74°F, partly cloudy with some breeze.
The owlets are zooming around the canopy of trees behind our house, from the big carport pecan to the birdfeeder tree and hackberry by the shop steps, with forays into the neighbor’s yard.
Gradually they migrate to the hackberry by the shop, to roost for the day
Monday, May 9, 2016
AM, temperature = 73°F = 10° warmer than yesterday morning. Very very windy, gusting past 20 mph.
A big branch came down in the neighbor’s driveway. Neither saw nor heard owls or owlets.
The wind dropped, finally, by 10 AM
PM, T= 78°F; back to humid. Wind has dropped.
Went to friends on Bayland to see if their owlets would fledge tonight. Nope. But afterward when we walked up the back steps to our own deck (9:30 PM) there was a minor explosion of our owlets, perhaps coming to water or just following mom and dad.
Friday, May 6, 2016, day 41/ 10
5:30 AM T equals 61°, clear morning.
6:10-6:20AM, T off to work. The owlets have apparently been in the burr oak because I watch them fly – one, two, three – into the crepe myrtle followed by scolding grackles. As they sit being heckled I see a parent owl fly over the roof of the house into the backyard. It is getting light and the three owlets head for their day roost by the shop window. On a hunch I go in through our front door and quietly back to the kitchen. And there is the adult owl sipping water from the dish on the back porch. Sipping and apparently washing his face as he shakes it back and forth in the shallow pool of water.
6:25am, The female owl is hunting in the backyard from the low branch by the clothesline. She flies through the gap and, moving to the bedroom window, I see her fly up to the day roost. Lots of happy rasping greets her. But in a moment she flies back through the gap and, for me, it’s back to the kitchen. There she is on the edge of the water dish. And gradually she hops in, walks around and finally lowers her belly into the water and bathes luxuriously.
This time when she goes back to the day roost it is for good.
Tuesday, May 3, 2016, Day 38/7 days out
5:30am, T=60F, wonderfully cool morning with breeze from the N, a few low clouds
6:15am, owlets, accompanied by parents, are cavorting in the driveway, hopping from the nest box tree to the myrtle to the laurel to the computer oak, all lively and a bit rowdy.
T rode off on his bike and no sooner do I turn around than an adult owl pounces on something on the lawn right by the rear car tire. Female, by her size. She stays there to snip it apart (lizard?). This gives me the heebie-jeebies because cats lurk under cars to hunt. Not this time, though, and she flies up to feed it to one of her crew.
Immediately she flies, arrow straight, to the thicket east of and right outside the garage/shop upstairs window. Just as immediately she is followed, arrow straight, by two of the chicks (how quickly they perfect their flying!). A third owlet follows more tentatively. I think this is our first confirmation of all three fledged owlets.
6:40am, I snuck up to the upstairs shop, quietly to the open window and stayed back in the shadows. Yup. Owlets in the spindly ligustrum, obscured by bamboo and capped with wild grape. It is a reincarnation of what we used to call the Football, favorite roost of previous owls. Cozy, private. But the wrens have noticed and are frantic, trailed by their oblivious young.
6:50am, Owlets are quiet, just a few faint rasps. Madame watches as I step quietly away.
10am; I don’t know where they go but I cannot find those little boogers during the day.
1pm; Tom took the afternoon off, it being just too fine and cool a day to stay inside.
6pm; T=75F; No evening observations tonight.
Monday, May 2, 2016, Day 37/6 fledged days
T=74F, cloudy; still waiting for the promised cold front.
6:30AM, Went to the upstairs shop but didn’t hear any owlet rasping The mosquitoes were so bad that I retreated to the house to watch from a window. Still saw and heard nothing.
8am, a patter of rain and the front is through, moving south fast. Instantly the temperature falls and the north wind kicks up.
4pm, gradually clearing all day and warming to the low 70’s.
The Carolina wrens are industriously feeding their 2 plump youngsters. Mosquitoes, damped by the morning’s chill, are ramping up again.
8:10pm; T=68F; Just getting dark enough to expect owlets rasping in impatience. We both sit upstairs at the shop window, bundled up to our noses, including gloves, not against cold but against mosquitoes.
8:15, 8:30—nothing. So we walk around the block to see if we can hear them anywhere on the perimeter. Nothing, but it sure is a nice cool evening for a walk.
Strike out on owls tonight
Sunday, May 1, 2016, day 36
AM, T=73°F; cloudy, humid, on the edge of rain.
6:30 AM, up a little too late. Dawn chorus has already started. The owlets are quiet already and we think they have moved farther east along St’s fenceline.
Many, many cedar waxwings around.
PM, cloudy all day. North wind shifting to east in the afternoon.
Several times I went over to the next yard to listen for raspers but heard none; I looked with binoculars for fuzzballs but saw none. Also went down to the bayou and watched three nestlings in the red shouldered hawk nest. Cottonwood snow is everywhere.
7:45 PM, Owl time is early due to the cloudy sky and even more to the impatience of the owlets. They started rasping at 7:55 PM. We wonder if they spent the day just a little north of our property line in the viney jungle there.
8:15 PM, an adult owl in the Prius complex of branches. It hawks a moth from the cherry laurel and disappears, presumably to feed the kids. We disappear inside to get away from the mosquitoes.