I went for a walk to Wheelwright Park this afternoon. I still forget that the time change means the sun sets pretty early. By 4:30, it was already getting dark. As much as I enjoyed listening to the Great Horned Owls calling, there have been reports of Coyotes in the woods at dusk. So far, the Coyotes have done little more than harass small dogs, but just in case I now carry a whistle and a bright flashlight.
The woods were lovely, dark, and peaceful. Since I had several miles to go, I began walking faster.But I had to stop twice, so I could take photos of the yellow and orangey-brown leaves of American Beech saplings looking surprisingly bright against the dark pines and oaks.
And I couldn’t help thinking how much better I’d like it if we stayed on Daylight Savings Time all year long. The woods would still be lovely, dark, and deep, but I’d have an hour longer to enjoy them.
I was out for a walk at dusk in nearby Wheelwright Park, and heard a strange sound coming from a nearby tree — a sort of whiny “cheep” kind of sound. I looked up, and there was a juvenile Great Horned Owl about 10 meters up.
The fading light made it hard to see much, but the bird appeared to have well-developed flight feathers. The prominent ear tufts which are characteristic of adult Great Horned Owls were just starting to form. And the plumage was a lighter color than adult plumage. So my guess is that this was a young owl out for one of its first forays from the nest.
As I stood watching it — and trying to take photos with my smartphone — I thought I heard another owl cheeping from a tree farther away. It seems like there were two young owls out trying out their new wings.
We took some kids backpacking to the Black Mountain Trail Camp last night. The trailhead is a short drive from Palo Alto, and the hike in is just two miles with only 500 foot elevation gain, making it a nice get-away for both church and Ecojustice Camp kids.
I got up before sunrise and heard some Great Horned Owls. And then, as the muted chorus of autumn birds was starting up, watched “rosy-fingered Dawn [Eos]” cast her glow on low-hanging stratus over Black Mountain.
Five minutes ago, Carol was sitting in the living room staring at her laptop, and I was in the kitchen reading a murder mystery. Suddenly my ears caught the sound of something outside the window. I stopped to listen, and it came again.
“Hear the owl?” I said to Carol.
“No,” she said. “Where?”
I opened one of the kitchen windows a crack, and we stood there and listened.
“Hu-hu, hu, hu,” said the owl in a nearby tree.
Carol and I grinned at each other. This is one of those times when we really like living in a cemetery. “Great Horned Owl,” I said.