This gray-morph Eastern Screech Owl was a lovely find at Mud Lake today. I didn’t think he was still around, but as it was late in the afternoon, I thought I’d check out the screech owl tree anyway. These diminutive owls are not very common in Ottawa, and are most easily found in wooded areas after dark by listening for their low, descending whinny or their long, low trill. Sometimes they can be seen sitting in the entrance of their tree cavity during the day, as this one was.
This bird was a lifer for me back in the spring. I only saw it once in April, despite my repeated attempts; I thought that it had found a quieter spot to roost after being barraged by birders and photographers and people playing tapes. Then, after a six-month absence, I saw him here again in October. Perhaps he was only waiting for the crowds to dissipate before returning to his favoured tree. Then again, maybe he found another tree cavity somewhere deeper in the woods and only roosts here on rare occasions. In any event, this was the last time I saw him.