Spotted Owls

Spotted Owls
adapted from my photo of 2008

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Oklahoma (Arnett) Christmas Bird Count

On Sunday (1/3) I drove from Fort Worth to Arnett, OK to participate in the CBC. Unfortunately I could not get the wifi to work in my room in Arnett so haven't been able to post until now, except to begin this post on my cell phone. I'm completing it now on 1/5. The CBC on 1/4 only had 7 participants, but we managed to put together quite a good list. Our team took a quick break outside the count circle to follow a rancher and find a Lesser Prairie-Chicken. Inside the circle were many Sandhill Cranes, American Goldfinches, Mountain Bluebirds, American Tree-Sparrows, a couple of Ferruginous Hawks, a Loggerhead and a Northern Shrike, Spotted Towhees, a Virginia Rail, and other more common birds. But the real highlight came at the end of the day when three of us saw two Great Gray Owls!! I know it's unbelievable, and I wouldn't believe it myself if I hadn't gotten a very good, clear view of one of the owls. Huge saucer-size facial disks, a huge, long gray body, with no brown. There really isn't any other possibility, but OK just doesn't get Great Gray Owls! Until now, apparently. (Note: The consensus as of 1/13 is they must have been Barred Owls, because who ever heard of a Great Gray Owl in Oklahoma?!!) I went back this morning to try to see it again, but had no luck. I sure hope someone else has a chance to go to the Arnett area again this winter. If so, please contact me and I'll give directions to the site.

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