Saturday, April 18, 2020

The Owl and the Pussycat

Great-horned Owls begin their breeding season in the depths of winter. Courting begins in December when you can hear them hooting a lot in the evenings and see them perched out in the open during the day. Nesting begins in January and once that happens, the owls disappear. The female is hidden on the nest which is usually in a large cavity in a tree and the male is hiding out nearby keeping a careful watch on his mate. This continues through February and March. We hike the trails and never see an owl. In late March or April, things change again and we begin to see an adult owl sitting out during the day. She is watching the nest from nearby now because her babies are so big that she doesn't have room to sit with them in the nest.

Dad is also sitting nearby to keep an eye out for trouble.

The babies are big enough to move around and can be seen in the nest cavity most days. Connie and I have been keeping tabs on the family for the past week.

And now for the pussycat. Well, not exactly a cat. More like our dog Peanut acting more like a cat than a dog. While Connie and I were watching the owlets (who were watching us right back), Peanut found a tree to climb.

She was up there so high, it scared me to death. Here she is scrambling back down.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

That's Why They Call it Fox Chase Farm

Like all of America, I'm doing my best to stop the spread of Corona Virus by staying home and keeping up with the social distancing requirements. I generally work from home anyway, so that part is easy for me. Connie and I are set up in different parts of the house to work (somehow, she got the sunroom). We still get outside every day to walk Peanut. We are going to Pennypack and Lorimer parks which is really nice. Lorimer Park butts up against Fox Chase Farm which has big open cow pastures and a beautiful view.

The other day, I noticed a fox one of the cow pastures at Fox Chase Farm. And, as the name suggests, I watched her as she stalked and chased her prey. She would sit very still with laser focus on the grass in front of her.

Listening for critters
Then, she would leap into the air and come down hard hoping to pin the prey.

The Pounce!
She did this several times. Stare. Pounce. Stare. Pounce.

And finally, one last pounce lunging directly away from my camera lens . . .

Victory! A rodent of some sort to bring back to her kits. She looked directly at me as if to say "Got it!"
She trotted off through the field. What a way to spend 15 minutes before going back to the reality of our pandemic situation.