Thursday, December 18, 2008

Tracking back in gear!

It was a wet and soggy day in Michaux State Forest yesterday, the kind of day that makes you really appreciate your rain gear, although, it wasn’t exactly raining. A snow storm dumped around 6 inches of heavy wet snow on the ground Tuesday night, and the warmer temperatures Wednesday morning resulted in the woods turning into a soggy mess as the snow melted. I tracked down Gemini to a tree less than 20 feet away from the tree it (remember, Gemini is an “unknown”) used the previous day. On both occasions, I could not get a visual on it, as the owl was at least 40 feet up in the dense white pines. Today, it was in another nearby white pine. At first, I could not see the owl in the dense branches, but as I stepped back about 20 feet to take a reading on my clinometer (an instrument used to measure the height of trees), I saw the classic “fuzzball” shape about 50 feet up in the branches.

Scott and Aura spent their time yesterday searching for Lexi and Maria. Lexi has been in the dense mountain laurel patch that Andy and Quasi spent much time at. Maria has been a little more challenging to pinpoint, but is somewhere near the Buck Ridge slope, possibly close to where Autumn used to roost. Aura is out again today trying to locate her, because she can’t hide forever with a transmitter on her back!

This weekend will bring more unwelcomed winter weather to the area, so we may have to postpone our night-telemetry. We are confident our owls will stick around, though, since they appear to be wintering here.

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