Friday, October 31, 2008

Late dragon and rare owl

Today was one of those glorious late fall days, full of sunshine and mild temperatures. Lots of those hardiest of butterflies still flying about, the Cabbage White and Clouded Sulphurs. Not to mention a Common Buckeye and some Orange Sulphurs. I ran across some other interesting critters, too...

Perhaps our latest dragonfly to regularly be on the wing, the Yellow-legged Meadowhawk, Sympetrum vicinum. They are frequently seen well into November, far past the flight dates for most other dragons. We even saw pairs in tandem today, so they are still shedding eggs. This individual, a male, looked quite fresh.

Treat of the day was a rarity, and it is in this picture. Hint: it is perched just to the right of the trunk, peering out at you, exactly in the middle of the photo. The tree is a Norway Spruce and it offers good shelter, but is not this bird's preferred roosting habitat.

There, I bet you can see it now.

Barn Owls are quite rare as breeders OR migrants in Ohio, and seeing one is always a treat. No mystery why some call them "monkey-faced owls". Overall, Barn Owls are not rare, having the broadest distribution of any of the world's owls. It'd be interesting to know how old this bird is. They can live long lives; the oldest Barn Owl on record survived for 34 years. This was an appropriate bird to see today, on Halloween. As Barn Owls typically inhabitat old barns and houses, and make some horrifying demon-like sounds, they undoubtedly have contributed to more than a few haunted house legends. Especially if the impressionable and superstitious actually catch a glimpse of the shrieker - a ghostly white shape sailing silently overhead.

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