Owl prowl: Brrrrding for sure

I took tomorrow off and I am planning to retrace my steps from my last owl prowl, to see if I can get Short eared owl (SEO) as well as Saw whet. I have leads on both of these owls in the same area as I was before. I haven't had any luck with Great horned owl (GHO) and I don't know of anybody who has. I'd REALLY like to get some decent shots of GHO... Hopefully the LEOs are still around and I can snap a few more pics of them.
Anyway, the plan is to get up and out EARLY, so I can catch the SEO as the sun rises. Normally the SEO battle it out with the Harriers as dawn and dusk, so this should be a lot of fun. As Murphy would have it, it appears that tomorrow is going to be VERY chilly so this will make life interesting at best. I have a nice video cam, but I'm not sure whether I should expose it to the cold.....

Well wish me luck tomorrow!


My garden bird list (Oct '09 - 81 species)

Here is a list of my garden birds to date - this list includes fly overs. I'll update it as I see new birds. Actually I am hoping that my new platform feeder will attract new visitors in spring. I am hoping to put together a life list at some stage but that will require going through all my South African birds, which may take a little while.

Garden birds (Oct '09 - 81 Species):

Blackbird, Red Wing
Bluebird, Eastern (n-all)
Bunting, Indigo
Cardinal, Northern
Catbird, Gray (n-08)
Chicadee, Black Capped (n-08)
Chicadee, Carolina
Cowbird, Brown Headed
Creeper, Brown
Crossbill, White winged
Crow, American (n)
Crow, Fish
Cuckoo, Yellow Billed
Dove, Mourning
Eagle, Bald
Finch, House (n-07,08,09)
Finch, Purple
Flicker, Common
Goldfinch, American
Goose, Canada
Grackle, Common
Grosbeak, Rose Breasted
Harrier, Northern
Hawk, Coopers
Hawk, Red Tailed
Hawk, Sharp Shinned
Hawk, Rough Legged
Heron, Great Blue
Hummingbird, Ruby Throated
Jay, Blue
Junco, Slate Colored
Kingbird, Eastern
Kinglet, Golden Crowned
Kinglet, Ruby Crowned
Merganser, Common
Mockingbird, Northern (n-'09)
Nighthawk, Common
Nuthatch, White Breasted
Nuthatch, Red Breasted
Oriole, Baltimore
Owl, Screech
Pheasant, Ring-Necked
Phoebe, Eastern
Robin, American
Sapsucker, Yellow Bellied
Siskin, Pine
Sparrow, House
Sparrow, White Throated
Sparrow, Chipping (n-'07)
Sparrow, Savannah
Sparrow, Field
Sparrow, Fox
Sparrow, Song
Sparrow, Tree
Sparrow, White Crowned
Starling, European (n-'06)
Swallow, Tree (n-07,08,09)
Swallow, Cliff
Swallow, Barn
Swift, Chimney
Thrasher, Brown
Thrush, Hermit
Thrush, Wood
Titmouse, Tuffted
Turkey, Wild
Vulture, Turkey
Vulture, Black
Warbler, Black Throated Blue
Warbler, Palm
Warbler, Pine
Warbler, Prothonotary
Warbler, Yelllow Rumped
Waxwing, Cedar
Woodpecker, Pileated
Woodpecker, Red Bellied
Woodpecker, Downy
Woodpecker, Hairy
Wren, House (n-all)
Wren, Carolina

Owlman vs. QJ?

When I started this blog I did it on a whim. I actually started it as a way to get practice before my owls started nesting in the owl box. As it turns out I haven't had an owl sighting since Mid November, so this blog may be about everything other than nesting owls. My question of the day is what do you think about my use of a pseudonym and a photo shopped picture. You can be honest. Do you think it detracts from the blog by making me look like a crazy person with an owl face or is it slightly amusing (what I was going for)? Last night my wife checked out the blog and started laughing hysterically - owlman, OOOWWLMAN, hoot hoot etc. She meant it in jest and I took it as such, but at the same time I don't want birders to be turned off by my own wackiness. What do think? Be honest I can handle it.


Bird ID: IBWO vs. Pileated

There has been a great discussion going on about the status of the IBWO based on my poll for this month. BTW, this month's poll already has 27 votes in the bag with plenty of time to go. I have given some of my opinions during the discussion, but I have used this blog primarily as a way to force me to learn more about the natural world and this topic has definitely done that. Based on the fact that most of the woodpecker sightings in the study area would be of a bird in flight I wanted to see how similar the Pileated and the IBWO are in flight. The two pictures below are copyright of Whatbird.com and I am borrowing them for illustration purposes only. Another side note: Whatbird.com is an awesome sight to use as a supplemental bird ID source.

What struck me about the two birds is that they are in fact very similar looking. Yes there is the white trailing wings on the IBWO, the stripe down the back and the light bill, but would the average person really see that when they casually saw the bird in flight? Also bear in mind that the Pileated does have white on its wings and given the right (or wrong) angle these may appear to be trailing. Also bear in mind that the size difference between the two is not that massive. In fact the IBWO is slighter bigger in size, but substantially heavier (making it appear bulky). Don't get me wrong, these illustrations can be used to make the case either way. What do you think? Are you confident that you could make the ID call while jumping around in treacherous swamp land? If you're interested in reading more here is a great comparison of the two check this out.