Friday, January 11, 2013

Winter takes a holiday

Roundtop Mtn. peeking up from behind an orchard
Just when I was happily getting used to winter, what happens? Winter takes a breather. Apparently more than one solid week of winter-normal temperatures was more than the season could handle. It has beaten a hasty retreat and leaves me with April showers for the next week.

This is not the kind of winter I look forward to.

At the cabin, the great-horned owl was calling this morning, so distant I could barely hear it. That probably puts the bird over on the neighboring mountain, which lies across the narrow stream valley created by Beaver Creek. Earlier, in December, a pair were courting vocally very near the cabin. They have gone silent, probably setting up nesting duties and not wanting to alert other predators to where they have established housekeeping.

I did find a raptor nest not long after the leaves fell this fall, and I’m going to investigate this weekend to see if they are using that as their home base. The odds are not high that I would find the one place where the big owls are nesting on the mountain, but I can’t resist trying.

Years ago I rented a weekend cabin with friends on Hawk Mountain, just down the road from the sanctuary. My bedroom was on the second floor, and across the dirt road from the cabin was a great-horned owl’s nest. I had great views of the downy twins that fledged from that nesting, as my bedroom was just about the same height as the nest. It was like a real life webcam.

These days, a brief glimpse of an owl is about as much as I get, and that all too rarely. Most of the time I have to settle for hearing their calls echoing through the forest.


KGMom said...

We just returned from two rain and fog-enshrouded weeks in London, UK.
Imagine my disappointment at finding exactly the same weather here in central PA?
Blecchhh--I like cold, I love snow. I want winter back.

Carolyn H said...

KGMom, at least the scenery was different in London! I sure hope you could see some of it through the fog.