Monday, February 19, 2018

Spy Cam

Hoot Hoot. We hear the owls late at night, sometimes in the middle of night, or in the earl morning far before dawn. Rarely do we see the giant horned owls, but occasionally we have what I like to call a Harry Potter moment when we see the owl take flight from its high perch in one of giant Ponderosa pines. As the owl flies through the dark of night, its white underneath gleams in the dull yard light on the pinnacle of the barn roof. My heart takes a leap at the thrill of getting even a fleeting glimpse of the majestic bird of prey.

Owls, as nocturnal creatures, are really hard to find, but they leave behind sign. So when the Head Gardener found these odd looking things on the lid of the box where the irrigation valves are located, he knew we have a second species, a barn owl perhaps. Owls spit out pellets that contain, for lack of better description, the indigestible parts of their prey such as bones and hair. Here at the Garden Spot the owls are likely to eat small birds, mice, and voles.  Wearing a glove, he collected the ones that were on the lid and in the grass located beneath the peak of the barn roof. The owl must perch on the peak of the barn roof to enjoy his meal or to digest it.

Last year the Head Gardner built a nesting box for either barn owls or the horned owls, which ever needed a home. He hung it just outside the barn above Pop's stall, hoping to attract a pair, but the box remained empty, so he decided to moved it to a more private place, high in the tree when we see the great owls perch. He decided that the stall area for the horses had too much traffic for the owls. I should have documented the installation of the nest box, but I didn't. It was ugly, requiring a very tall extension ladder, a rope and pulley system, and of course, a safety belt. Now I ask you, should any 65 year old grandpa be climbing trees and hoisting heaving boxes for creatures to maybe nest in? Apparently so. 

Of course, Boone gave the nesting box one final inspection and his ARF of approval before it was installed.

It is doubtful that we will have any takers this year since the owls begin nesting as early as February, so they have probably already found suitable accommodations. Next year, perhaps.

 Our next step was to determine what sort of owl is depositing it pellets, so we invested in  a game camera that is now located on the side of the chicken house to photograph what might light on the barn roof.

Here is brief sequence of the first 24 hours. Nothing interesting.

Hmm. A stranger wearing a hoodie and ball cap. Oh. It's the Head Gardener.

The camera takes a photo when it detects movement. You can see the boys standing outside their stalls.

More Movement: Boone. 

There's that hooded guy again.

Who knows how long it will be before we see an owl. The weather is bad. Snow. Cold. Wind--which also activates the camera to take a photo when the pine tree limbs move, so the HG will move it so that it does not take unnecessary photos. And I hope that we don't run out of mice or voles. 

This next photo was taken and edited by my friend, Patty Lang. She and her husband spent the weekend with us and we were looking at her collection of photos. She uses an online editor, Smart Photo Editor, which lends her wonderful special effects that take her photos to the next level. I believe that this photo was taken on a very foggy morning at Confluence Lake in Delta, CO. It is an interesting photo because if you know geese you will recognize the white geese as domestic ones, the two grays with the hump nose are domesticated Chinese geese, and the one wild Canada goose. You have to wonder why he is with the domestics.

There are a dozen captions that go with this photo. What would you say about the photo?  I'll post them, if you want to suggest a caption.

Well, thank you for visiting. I appreciated your concern and good wishes for the horses. They are all old and we can sympathize with them. I wake up many mornings stiff with sore joints from the arthritis that is settling in. Sundance is now on a injection of some sort--a cortisone type drug that will help his joints produce lubricating fluid and an anti informatory tabled "For Dogs Only." So far Sundance has not begun to bark yet, but he is moving more easily and we hope pain free.

I'll be linking up with Life in Normandy Mosaic Monday. You will find we at the bottom of the list. 

Have a wonderful week.


  1. I do hope your owls take up residence in the new home.

  2. Hello, that is a nice owl box. I hope you get a pair of owls to make your box their home. The wildlife cam is great too, you never know what you will see. Love the goose photo. I am glad Sundance is moving around easily, thanks to the meds. I hope he is pain free. Enjoy your day and week ahead!

  3. We often hear owls in the night and early morning too but never see them or know where they nest, still it's a sound that I enjoy hearing especially when I'm tucked up warm in bed!
    Glad to hear the gee gee's are doing better, stay warm.

  4. We hear owls late at night too but I can never spot them during the day. I'm glad the horses are managing ok and hopefully it will be Spring weather soon. LOVE the cool is that! Hugs, Diane

  5. I hope the owls do come to your box - perhaps next year. On a evening walk recently, we heard a pair of owls hooting to each other in the woods. It's such a lovely, mysterious sound. Once in awhile we see them swoop from tree to tree, but not this time.
    The geese photo is great. I think the Canada Goose is leading the way - perhaps over the border!

  6. Yes, I can appreciate how much excitement you feel when you spot an owl, even for a moment. Probably a heart beating as fast as when the Head Gardener was risking life and limb to put up the owl box! I look forward to some cool pictures of owls!!!

  7. Olá Ann!
    Encontrei seu blog por acaso, e achei as fotos interessantes, pois amo a natureza! Por isso, resolvi traduzi-lo no "Tradutor", e achei fantástico seu post. A preocupação com as corujas. Vou estar sempre por aqui. Abraços e venha me visitar

  8. LOL! There you are building them a home and I'm over here always watching for them not to come to near. My little Lizzie(Yorkie) is so tiny that I hover over her every night when she goes out to do her business. No privacy for her. But birds of prey are everywhere around here including those big owls. I'm going to ship them to you. LOL!!!