Friday, January 9, 2009

Icy wonderland

The icy wonderland that is South Mountain...with snow on the way. (©Aura Stauffer)

Both Anna and Aura were out tracking yesterday, and between them they found all three of our telemetry owls.

Anna found Gemini in a tall white pine in her accustomed area along Tom's Run in Michaux State Forest, back near a roost she used Jan. 3. It's a stand of pines and hemlocks northeast of a small cabin that sits near the middle of her winter territory. Everything was still covered in ice, with the wind knocking some of it down; Anna said that Gemini (I keep calling it "she" out of habit, even though it's a sex-unknown bird) was fluffed up in the cold.

A little keepsake from Lexi - a fresh (and frozen) pellet, one of many we've collected and will analyze to see what the owls have been eating. (©Aura Stauffer)

Aura tracked down both Maria and Lexi, who are staying on King's Gap State Park property in upper King's Gap Hollow, as usual. Lexi was perched in a small pitch pine in the firebreak, and Aura was able to collect a pellet from below her roost, while Maria was .3 mile away, not far from the firebreak and back in the same tree she used Jan. 4, and which Quasi had used almost exactly two months earlier.

As you can see from Aura's photos, South Mountain is a real icy wonderland right now, and it may become even more of a challenge to get around after Saturday, with the prediction for 4-6 inches of snow starting tonight.
(©Aura Stauffer)

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