In an amazing vocal performance, three species of owls were heard in Claremont Canyon before dawn on Saturday, December 11. Led by Dave Quady, an owl expert and aficionado, a dozen participants in a Conservancy birding field trip heard the following:
Great Horned Owl - five or more, vocalizing at the same time,
Northern Saw-Whet Owl - two (duet), and
Western Screech-Owl - at least one, maybe two
After breakfast the group birded along Claremont Avenue between Gelston St. and Grizzly Peak Blvd., with choice of locations limited by the lingering fog (click here for a slide show). Highlights included Hutton’s Vireo and Ruby-crowned Kinglet (species often difficult to tell apart) in the same willows, a female Townsend’s Warbler (photo, right), and a dozen or more Dark-eyed Juncos. In all, 28 bird species were seen or heard.
Great Horned Owl
Northern Saw-whet Owl
Of natural history interest were inky cap mushrooms (Coprinopsis lagopus, per Debbie Viess), and coyote brush covered with wintering ladybugs (Hippodamia convergens, per Ken Schneider).