Thursday, November 24, 2011

Snowy Owl, Merrill Creek

There's a well-known Snowy Owl at Merrill Creek Reservoir that I went to see on Thanksgiving morning, although I had actually seen it the week before. Although I usually have reservations about "advertising" owl locations this bird has been present for a while and the location is widely disseminated.

Merrill Creek have closed the section of trail that runs down the east side of the southern dam, and the ranger I talked to indicated that this was to protect the owl roost location since people were getting too close. And in fact the Snowy was roosting next to a small rock ledge right adjacent to the closed path. It wouldn't surprise me if the bird had regularly been spooked of it's roost by the overzealous. The ranger indicated that the owl has probably been eating the gulls that roost there in considerable numbers late in the day.

Birding at Merrill Creek was otherwise quite slow - a single Bald Eagle, Horned Grebe, Belted Kingfisher and little in the way of land birds apart from Eastern Bluebird (heard) and American Goldfinch at the boat ramp parking lot.

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