February 28, 2017
AM T=71F; warm, moist, ESE breeze.
Grackles and blackbirds are showing up in the Art Park now. Ick. On the nest Ms Owl seems to be paying close attention to the bottom of the box. Cheeping is louder—one egg certainly hatched. The “egg shimmy” is gone—she wouldn’t want to abrade her new chick.
If we are right about the laying date (Jan 30) then this chick hatched in 28 or 29 days. Gehlbach says about 30 days on average, not less than 27, not more than 34.
10:30am; Madame is eating an egg shell; you can hear the lighter crunching. And we can hear a lighter peeping, too. I think we have hatch number two.
Male was in his usual palm day roost.
February 27, 2017 first hatched
We saw anoles out and about today. Also a red-shouldered hawk circling at mid-day, and black-colored swallowtails. The oak trees are erupting in catkins. Some, but not all, hackberry branches on the nest tree are sprouting new leaves.
5pm; We turned on the owl cam and heard Madame clucking quietly. We think we also hear faint cheeping—an egg ready to hatch?
Owl time; unusual behavior from the female: she didn’t leave the nestbox at dusk. Instead she moved carefully around, clucking to the eggs. We could definitely hear muted cheeping, either inside the egg or now hatched.
6:41pm, male trilling in the shop hackberry. Flew east over the shop roof. Will he now change his day roost location or will he stay with the palm?
One bug and one gecko (sm video) delivered while we ate dinner.
February 11 and 12, 2017
Saturday and sunday
Oyster fest near Rockport. We had sandhill cranes overhead while having coffee on the porch both mornings. We heard the whoopers, too, and went to see them in the neighbors place. There were 5 of them, including a brown-headed juvenile at the meadow, along with the sandhills, egrets, spoonbills and flocks of whistling ducks. There was a ladder-backed woodpecker in the pond area of G&W’s property (female).
On Sunday on the way home we stopped for coffee on the Colorado River (off 521). We watched a pelican gracefully, clumsily, dive and swallow mullet every 100′ down the river. A fruitful stretch.
February 10, 2017
Friday; 7AM T=59F; overcast, warmer and moister
6:19am, female is in the box, amid a pile of bird feathers.
6:45am, she came to drink at the water dish, watched by the male from the orchid branch. He hunted around there a bit but we never saw him drink.
Drove to Lamar in the afternoon for Oyster Fest with G and W. Saw redtails, caracara and a Swainson’s hawk. Finally saw some sandhill cranes south of Danevang.
February 9, 2017
Thursday; AM T=52F; clear cool morning.
Ms Owl was sitting in a pile of feather, having evidently enjoyed a hearty meal some time during the wee hours. Last night was bright with moonlight from a waxing moon.
PM; Gorgeous, clear, cool breezy day.
T=64F at 7pm; full moon tonight.
6:25pm, male left his day roost and hunted at the side of the house on the canoe rack. Female planed down out of her box to low in the Klein pecan. The male hunted for her, diving to the ground by the faucet, then up to the fence. 6:30pm; he fed her and had chittering owl sex. Flew off down the driveway and the female remained in the pecan.
6:35pm; male returned to the shop hackberry, trilling.
6:40pm; Went back to hunting in our driveway by the computer oak. Madame grabbled a bit from him on the Prius branch and then returned to the box.
6:52pm Male deivered food to the box
7:53pm; Madame eating her cached bird bit.
7:58pm; female left the box, returning at 8:03pm. Katydid at 8:04pm
February 8, 2017
AM T=72F; scattered low clouds
6:15am; male on the Prius branch hunting the compost area
6:40am; male went to the pecan in back. 6:48 he took to the water dish and jumped in to bathe, have a drink, preen briefly on the orchid branch and then head to his roost in the palm tree.
6:49am, female is in the entrance of the box for about 30 seconds, long enough to count 3 eggs and part of a bird fragment.
PM, little cold front came in tonight—windy and delightfully cool
Missed owl time; we were at Moontower Inn. Female was in her box when we came home
February 7, 2017
Tuesday; AM T=71; cloudy, south breeze
Female is on the eggs by the time we got up, so we don’t know if we have another one. Sort of doubt it at this point, with 7 days since the first one..
7:30-8:30am; lots of doves cooing and cracking wings. Gibbous moon.
PM; unseasonably warm at 79F, 7pm.
Lots of crazy owl action tonight (T missing his watch, so no times recorded). When I (T) stumbled out the back door around 6:25pm the female was already out of the box and giving food-begging cries from somewhere close (probably a low branch of the pecan. As I sat on the shop steps I couldn’t believe my ears: box calls coming from the low box! This with three eggs secure in the high box. What is he thinking?? A few minutes later the male left the low box, heading north and reappearing on the gate, three feet from my face as I sat on the steps. He scanned the ground under the bedroom window, then turned and flew toward the thistle branch. Meanwhile, in the driveway a squirrel was traversing the nestbox tree, maybe 2/3 of the height of the box. An owl appeared in the crepe myrtle. My impression was that the squirrel might actually be about to head off to the northeast via St’s yard. But the watching owl flew straight up from the myrtle and knocked that squirrel right off its limb! The squirrel fell 25ft to the ground. Thud. (Later I went over with a flashlight to check for the corpse, but of course rubber squirrel had bounced up unscathed.)
Mosquitoes were unbelievably bad at dusk, but declined to mere nuisance status as it got later.
Female back in the box at 6:46pm; food deliveries at 6:48pm, 6:53pm. Saw 2 or 3 more via cam.
February 6, 2017
AM, T=69F, 7am; terribly warm, noisy katydids.
6:35am; female is out of the box, 3 eggs visible. She is back at 6:41am.
6:53am; male back in his palm roost.
Saw a red tailed hawk circling high over head around noon and again at 4pm. Waxwings are around and a robin is scolding from the cherry laurel.
PM; very warm at owl time, with some mosquitoes.
Female planed down from her nest box before 6:17pm, straight to the neighbor’s yard to the west. This differs from previous nights.
6:24pm, the female is at the water dish on the back deck. She sipped quietly for a couple of minutes, shifted to the deck railing. She caught something against the French doors (such control, just brushing the glass), hawked the flowering orchid. Finally went to the pecan to wait for the male.
6:29pm; male trilling; 6:30pm he fed the female a tidbit and left again.
6:37pm; after sitting quietly and unfed in the pecan the F finally returned to the nestbox.
7:30pm; Fetching T for dinner, I found the male owl in the shop hackberry in the light from the upstairs shop. He had dangly insect legs hanging from his beak. He headed straight for the nestbox; we could hear Madame’s grateful cries from inside.
February 5, 2017
Amazingly warmer; T=68F, 7am; Katydid screech is continuous; foggy, drippy, humid.
6:58am; Male owl returned to his roost in the palm with a rustling thump. The female was already in the nest box by 6:40am. Two eggs visible but a third could be out of sight.
Noisy doves this morning—mating season?
Soft weather with a few sprinkles but clearing in time for the Super Bowl. A good thing, as Lady Gaga had to have them open the stadium roof so she could trapeze in. Quel absurdite. At the half the game was the Falcon’s to lose—and they did.
PM; Male came off his roost to the Canyon this time. He hunted from the lower bar of the canoe rack between our houses before joining the female in the Klein pecan.
February 4, 2017
Saturday; overcast and chilly all day (58F); C off to workshop in Navasota
6:20pm; Male arrived in the shop hackberry and began monotonic trills, about 12 over 5 minutes.
6:25pm; Female swooped down from her high box to the pecan. The male joined her there and mated twice. Back at the cherry laurel, loud banging of its fruits falling on the upturned canoe signaled a rat in the tree, feeding on them.
6:28pm; F in the pecan. M reappeared to feed her, then to the shop hackberry.
6:30pm; M out through the Gap to the computer oak; hope he catches the rat.
7pm; C, coming home from Navasota, stood by the car, locking up. The female came to the Prius branch, was joined by the male. They had owl sex right over my head. The male, doing date night backwards, then went off to the burr oak to find her something to eat. That accomplished, they retired, she to her box, he to the front yard. On the cam we can see two eggs for sure and can’t rule out a third one hidden at the back.