Thursday, February 24, 2011

Winter #17: Live Guidance

6:20am-7:30am Arnold Arboretum, Jamaica Plain, MA
clear and somewhat cold

What a treat! This morning I was joined by Marc Devokaitis, a real birder and musician who works in Visitor Education at the Arboretum.

It was a great morning for it - lots of birds out, in every corner of the Arboretum.

I was delighted to have someone to lob my bird questions at, including:
Who is that bird?? The Wee-er bird has been identified as an American Goldfinch! After months of mystery. They are in drab browns (not yellow) in the winter time.
Where are the best local spots for spring birding?
Millenium Park in West Roxbury is meant to be incredible.
When would I hear a screech owl?
Probably at dusk.

But I get ahead of myself. In addition to spotting my first "wild" song sparrow:

and getting this awesome human/mourning dove interaction (listen very closely):

the top highlight of the morning might just have to be my first-ever owl sighting.

Thanks to the Internet and generous birders, word has spread to Arboretum staff of a screech owl roosting over by north end of Bussey Hill (click here for directions). Marc was kind enough to show me the tree. As Marc put it:

I have to agree. Even though the old man was sleeping, and scarcely distinguishable from the trunk he was nestled in, it was thrilling to check out a real live owl. And there's something sweet about watching an animal while it sleeps.


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