Chicago Sun-Times
Stray Casts will intelligently report and observe, hopefully with a touch of wit, on daily occurrences, reports and releases related to Chicago-area outdoors from bucks to bass to birds to bugs

Wild Sunday (a late one) 3-23-08

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Tucked a couple branches up on an old conifer in a cemetery, the saw-whet owl stared back at us as intently as we did it this morning. It was a lifer for me.

As owls go, saw-whets aren't much, especially compared to snowy owls or great horned owls. Maybe the size of a good-sized hand, say seven inches long..

Cornell Lab of Ornithology's All About Birds suggest that's conifers are the usual winter roosts of a northern saw-whet owl (Aegolius acadicus), a woodland owl.

A good North Side friend Jeff Wyse, whom I've known since college, heard a report of it from Berrien Birding Club. (It was originally found by Kirk Schrader.) I was intrigued enough to take a drive with Wyse to find it in a cemetery just across the state line in Michigan.

We found it almost right away, got a good look at it, then left it as undisturbed as possible.

I say it was a lifer, but I'm not really the type to keep lifer lists for anything, including sightings of birds or catching of fish.

Though I can tell you the major fish catches of my life (a 47.5-inch muskie from Kinkaid Lake in 2000 and a 30-pound flathead catfish from the Rock River in 2003), and the most significant bird sighting of my life (the first documented sighting of a snowy owl in Iroquois County on New Year's Eve in 2005.)

And I'll remember seeing this small handful of feathers this morning. It made my Easter. Just as the long-eared owls in the south Loop brightened a nasty winter for a lot of Chicago people.

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This page contains a single entry by Dale Bowman published on March 23, 2008 9:28 PM.

Gone Fishin' (sorta) and Housekeeping was the previous entry in this blog.

Hectoring myself to eat kroo is the next entry in this blog.

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