We got some intel on the location of a wintering long-eared owl and went to find it at a nature reserve-type place. The picture shows we were successful, although a) we had to rely on the goodwill of volunteer at this place to lead us to it and b) the owl was too high up in a clump of trees and could only be seen when standing practically right under it, so we more or less just got a look up its skirts, so to speak. Also, we didn’t have binoculars. The volunteer told us the nature reserve manager didn’t want to advertise the owl but “if people ask,” she said, “I’m allowed to tell them.” The worry is that if everyone knows where it is, mobs of people coming to see it might scare it away (so no disclosure here). If you want to see some better pictures of a long-eared owl, check out The Cornell Lab website.
The birders among you might be wondering why we didn’t bring binoculars on a day trip to see a cool bird. Though bird fans, we aren’t hardcore twitchers, so remembering to bring the bins isn’t top of my list. I count myself lucky if I remember to bring a hat, mittens, jacket, my wallet, and cell phone. Twice now since the weather turned cold I’ve forgotten to bring a jacket when I set out to walk in one of my favorite places: Morven Park in Leesburg. It’s a 25-minute drive, and because I get too hot in the car to wear a jacket, I usually toss one in the back seat—if I remember to bring one. So it’s not all that unusual to arrive at a destination only to find I forgot to throw my coat in the car. We usually keep a bath or beach towel in the car—never know when you might need to dry yourself or wipe mud off. I learned towels can double as a shawl, for example, if you drive a long way to go for a walk and it’s cold and you forgot your coat. I learned the same thing about flimsy airline blankets, another car staple.
In addition to birds, we love trees. This one looked to be about 250-300 years old when it fell. I’m as intrigued by massive standing trees as I am by massive ones fallen from natural causes. “Look at the size of the butt on that thing,” I remarked to Hubby, as I scrambled off trail to have a closer look. He responded with a comment that I’m pretty sure wasn’t about the uprooted tree. Handed to him on a silver platter.