March 2, 2015

Screech Owl

This morning the chickadees were complaining insistently in the spruce tree outside, and when I pointed my Therm-App at the ruckus, I saw this:


The spot on the left is a complaining chickadee fitting about, the blob on the right was something bigger. Here's another angle.


with the yellow box showing the frame of the Therm-App view. And the identity of our mystery guest?


an Eastern Screech Owl, very well hidden and difficult to find even when I knew where to look.
My first infrared-discovered owl! and a new yard bird, to boot.

Over the weekend I had occasion to test out another owl-spotting scenario with the infrared camera, a snowy owl in a field of snow:


The bird had been reported by others, and was somewhat far away, perhaps a hundred yards from the road:


Unfortunately, it does not show up that well: it is the little spot towards the upper-left.
One big thing working against me that day was that it had been sunny all day, and as I've come to learn, infrared from a sunny day can overwhelm even in a cold winter day (temps were under 20F), so I expect the surrounding trees to be cooler when overcast. Anyhow, I think it could still be an effective detector if the bird were closer, though one might then expect it to be noticed by the keen eye.

Interestingly, while I watched, this snowmobiler drove by:


passing probably within 30 yards of the bird, who did not flinch.

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