Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Secluded Snooze

Saw-whet owl sketch
A friend of mine called the other day to tell me he'd found a Northern saw-whet owl in a cedar tree in the cemetery, so taking a break from my competition piece I went looking for it. He'd given me directions to the tree and said it would be easy to locate the owl, just look for the droppings and pellets.
Well, he was right about that, but actually seeing the owl was another matter entirely. It was obvious the little bird had been roosting there for some time as there were several pellets on the ground and a good deal of whitewash. I carefully and quietly walked around the tree looking with and without binoculars, but it took me awhile to find the bird. Directly above the whitewash was the owl tucked up inside a mass of cedar boughs and all but invisible unless you knew where to look. And this is all I could see....
Snoozing saw-whet
The owl had tucked his face down into his wing and the boughs enveloped it like a security blanket. I watched it for several minutes and took some poor photos and it never raised it's head. All that was really visible was the top of it's head, a portion of wing and the foot that gripped the branch it sat on. 
The view from below.
 It would have been nice to see it's face as saw-whets can be extremely cute. They are small owls about 8 inches long and though they can be cute make no mistake, they are as fierce as their larger cousins. Here's a photo of a more cooperative one from a few years ago.
Northern saw-whet owl
Lots of cuteness here!