Saturday, April 29, 2017

For a Hoot, Go A Mile

We must have heard that a dozen times on this trip. "To get to the (fill in the blank), go a mile up the" . . . canyon or road or trail. On three occasions, the mile paid off in owls. 

I already told you about my big 600th ABA bird - the Mexican Spotted Owls at Beatty's Guest Ranch in Miller Canyon. To get to them, we had to hike up the trail about a mile - and I do mean UP. 

Mexican Spotted Owls
To get to this crazy little owl, we had to go up Cave Creek Canyon road, past the turn off for some other road and over the little bridge. We were told to go EXACTLY a mile from the bridge and look for 2 Sycamore trees that hang over the road. The first tree has 3 holes in it. It isn't that tree. It's the other tree. I swear, this could have been my mother talking. Anyway, we followed the directions and viola - Whiskered Screech Owl.

Whiskered Screech Owl
I nicknamed her Cross-eyed Mary. She just kept looking at us with those crossed eyes. 

Today, we hiked up Ramsey Canyon. This is a canyon that it part of The Nature Conservancy and has a Nature Center unlike the other canyons.  The volunteer at the nature center told us that we might find a trogon if we hike up to the top which was, you guessed it, about a mile. The trail was really nice for about 1/2 mile then of course it got steep. I sent Lori and Tara ahead. Connie bailed early. I dragged my fat ass up slowly. We made it to the area where the trogon would be but never heard or saw the bird. Another couple was there and showed us an owl instead. Bonus -  this little Northern Pygmy Owl just sat there and allowed us to snap some pretty nice photos. 

Norther Pygmy Owl
Check out the paws on this bird. They are over-sized! You know what they say about owls with big feet . . . 

For this next owl, we didn't have to go a mile. This one has a nest just outside of the visitor center at San Pedro House. We did have to go twice to see her sunning herself in the morning light. 

Western Screech Owl
Rounding out our owl odyssey, we were treated to these Great-horned Owl babies right in the parking lot of the Portal Cafe where we had a great lunch. 

Great-horned Owl baby
Including the Elf Owl that we saw on our first night, this turned out to be a six owl trip. Not bad for the Bird Nerds. 

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