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Showing posts from December, 2011

Owl Prowl

Last Friday evening should have been perfect for spotting owls (either visually or aurally): owl courting season, nearly cloudless sky, 3/4 of a waxing moon, and a windless night.  Unfortunately, for the fifteen or so of us, led by the incomparable naturalist Dorothy McCleer, we came up owl-less.
     It was a cold, late fall evening, the brief snowfall from Thursday evening was all but vanished except for the white shellacking on the fallen trees.  We met inside U of M-Dearborn's Environmental Interpretive Center for a briefing of the species we might encounter--the great-horned owl, the screech owl, and possibly a barred owl, one of which had been hanging out in the basement of a Presbyterian church on the other side of the Rouge River.  We headed out into the cold dark and stopped by some oaks near the entrance.  Ms. McCleer quieted us down and whistled the smooth sliding call of the screech owl.  We scanned the dark cracks in the sky that were the bare tree branches for …