Yesterday (Part 2) and Today
In yesterday’s post I explained how I went searching for a saw-whet owl and found one.
I’d like to explain in further detail saw-whet owls.Saw-whet owls are found only in portions of Iowa during the winter months – from about November through March. Soon any saw-whets that are here will move north again. They appear almost docile, but are great mouse hunters at night.
Each year I look for a saw-whet owl or two. The small owls are fun birds to find since they roost in timber. Their preferred habitat is cedar trees and the owls blend well with their surroundings. What makes the saw-whet owl unique is they generally do not fly during the day. If you find one, chances are it will remain on perch until nightfall. That can make photographing them easy, assuming they are perched in a good spot. Or, sometimes a person has to come back on another day if the bird is spending the daylight hours in a tough spot for owl photography.
One other thing about the little owls is that they don’t have their eyes wide open very much during the day. Usually, when you first walk up to one, it will have its eyes wide open. Otherwise, they look like sleepy little birds.
Following are few poses of the saw-whet owl I walked up on yesterday. This may have been my easiest saw-whet owl find to date!
Before I looked for the saw-whet owl I shot plenty of pictures of wild turkeys. They were in the area due to bird seed scattered on the ground. As you can tell, the turkeys allowed me to be very close.
Almost as exciting as finding the saw-whet owl was finding river otters again. Like the last time, two otters were working/fishing around a couple of holes in the ice.
I noticed something about how the otters eat fish. So far, the river otters I have watched have always devoured the fish from the tail end. I am guessing, but I wonder if that is to limit the fish’s movement as it is being eaten alive.
I must give the otters credit. So far all of the fish that I have watched them eat have been completely consumed. No waste was left for crows or bald eagles. I imagine if they caught a large carp the story may be different.
River Otter Eating Fish:
Today’s interesting wildlife observation was this rooster ring-necked pheasant. I spotted it feeding in a corn stubble field. When I stopped to shoot a few pictures, the pheasant dropped down to hide from me. If you look carefully, you will see that the longer I was with the bird, the lower its head was in the snow. Even though it dropped low, the bird was still watching me, probably ready to explode skyward if I approached.
Rooster Ring-necked Pheasant Hiding in Snow:
Not too far away I found several more roosters that fled when I slowed. There was no hiding in the snow for these boys. Each of them headed for the hills.
Rooster Ring-necked Pheasants in Snow:
The only other wildlife seen today was also hiding from me, but the sparkle in its eye gave it away. This cottontail held still and never did move. Sometimes they can’t sit still if I “out sit” them. This one had willpower.
Cottontail Rabbit Hiding in Brush: