This morning I went to Gage Road in Addison County to look for the Snowy Owl
that Ali Wagner reported from that location last night. I didn't find the
Snowy Owl there and decided to poke around the general area hoping I'd be
lucky enough to stumble upon the bird in another location. Unfortunately, my
aimless wandering produced no Snowy Owl but I did come across an area that I
thought looked like ideal habitat for Short-eared Owl and decided if
conditions were favorable this evening I would return to check it out.
I arrived at the site just after 4 PM. As soon as I put the window down and
turned off the car I could hear the characteristic "barking/yelping" call of
a Short-eared Owl. Across the field I could see a raptor perched in a tree
and another bird in the air seemingly harassing the perched bird. The
perched bird was a light morph ROUGH-LEGGED HAWK and the bird in the air was
a SHORT-EARED OWL.
The harassment ended shortly and the owl flew towards me landing on a fence
post perhaps 150 yards from the road where it stayed "yelping" for the next
25 minutes. At 4:30 PM another bird joined the first bird and they flew off
together to the east where I eventually lost track of them. At about 4:45 PM
I discovered a single bird flying over the field and just before I left
there were 3 birds working the east end of the field. I'm assuming the third
bird was joined by the original pair, but it is also possible there were a
total of 5 birds here.
This location is on Country Club Road in Addison County. Country Club Road
runs between Jersey Street South and Route 17 in the western portion of the
county. The birds are in a weedy field on the south side of the road
approximately 4 tenths of a mile from where it ends at route 17. A couple of
cautions, first the road is unmarked where it joins route 17 and one might
pass the road up thinking it only to be a farm lane. Secondly, the western
portion of the road is considered a seasonal road only. This evening as I
approached from the east I found the road a little muddy/"greasy" in the
warming temperatures. Although easily passable this evening, it might not
stay that way if we get any rain in the coming week.
Good luck if you go!!!