Summer continues to be the most challenging season for blogging about the owls. Sunset is gradually becoming earlier after the solstice but the still late sunsets make for some long nights in the park. When combined with my swimming at a local pool after work, the late nights in the park give me less time at home at night to write about feathered friends.
In terms of observing and documenting the owls in the summer, those of you who have been on an owl prowls have heard me say that, "Every season has joys and challenges." The joys of summer are that the weather is warmer, there are more owls and wildlife to see and it is fascinating to watch the gradual maturation of the owlets. The challenges of the summer are that the trees are all leafed out thus making the owls harder to see, it gets bloody hot and humid in St. Louis in the summer, there are more owls and wildlife to observe, and the park is louder with the increase in human and insect activity.
In the last week or so, I have had some particularly enjoyable observations of Charles, Sarah and their owlets. Last night, I found one of the younger owlets perched just off the ground on the stump of a tree. (Be sure to double click on the photos to see a larger version)
Here is a video of this observant owlet.
On July 9, I saw the oldest owlet right at my eye level on a small, dead tree.
Watch the owlet wink and blink in this video.
While the owlets are all large, there are subtle differences in size and more noticeable distinguishing points in their feathers and coloration. Look at these two owlets again and notice how the younger owlet's tufts are thinner than the older. A clearer difference is the head colors of the owlets. The younger is showing the lighter, blonder feathers of youth while the older owlet's head feathers are a more adult brown.
Another highlight of July 9 was seeing Charles and Sarah next to each other in his and hers Cottonwoods. Sarah was on the left high up in The Eastern Tree and Charles on the right in The PX Tree, which has become a frequent perch spot of his this summer.
Using The PX Tree as a perch is a first for Charles and a good example of how the owls vary their perches not only day-by-day and season-by-season but also over the course of years.
Speaking of years, I am happy to say that on June 29, I reached the eight-and-a-half year mark of watching the owls. It is always a thrill to reach these milestones and to reflect on how much the owls have brought to my life and the lives of others.
2014 is also going strong with owl outreach work. My 2013 total of 57 owl prowls will likely be eclipsed as I have already led 44 owl prowls this year. The same goes for owl talks. 28 talks in 2013 with 21 so far this year. My geographic range for talks has increased this year with my first three talks ever in Illinois and a talk in Kansas City with others throughout Missouri coming up or in the works.
My next public talk is a big one on many levels. It is next week on Wednesday, July 23 at 6:00pm at the Schlafly Branch of the St. Louis Public Library system. This will be my first talk for SLPL and as Schlafly is one of their large regional branches, I am starting in the big leagues already. Furthermore, this branch and its predecessor, the Lashly Branch, have been my local SLPL branch since 1997. Wendy and I go there every week not just as library patrons but as visitors to our former neighborhood, the Central West End, in which the branch is located. Lastly, I worked for SLPL at the Central Library from 1998 to 2003 and that is where Wendy and I met. Wendy and I both now work in academic libraries but our love of and for public libraries and their mission is undiminished. With all these factors, I hope the talk is well attended and a big success. I thank you greatly if you can attend this talk. The Schlafly Branch is located at 225 North Euclid Avenue (at Lindell Blvd), St. Louis, MO 63108
Thank you for reading!