Sunday, June 13, 2021

Western Burrowing Owl - Owlets on Pellett Road 2

I saw my first burrowing owl at the Salton Sea on April 9th. I photographed 12 that day. I got better at looking for them and had subsequent visits where I photographed numbers in the 40s and 50s. My goal soon became finding and photographing owlets. On May 20th I finally saw my first group of owlets, four together, on Trifolium Fourteen Drain Road, about 30 yards east of Vendel Road. On June 4th I saw the first group, the Trifolium Fourteen owlets, from a distance and saw three more groups of owlets: (2) the second group of four owlets was on Bannister Road, just east of Vendel Road and before Baker Road;  (3) third group of three owlets was on Pellett Road, between Bannister and Walker Roads; and (4) the fourth group, with one owlet, was on Forrester Road, between Bannister and Walker Roads. 

On June 12th I visited the Salton Sea again and was looking only for owlets. I was passing up many, many solitary burrowing owls and other birds, like great egrets, cattle egrets and snowy egrets. I saw the first group of owlets again, from a distance, and the second group a couple of times, off Bannister Road. I did not see the third or fourth groups of owlets, even though I drove by the areas where I'd seen them previously. I saw my fifth group of owlets on Pellett Road, two owlets total, making them the second group of owlets I've seen on Pellett Road. These owlets were in a completely different location than the other group I saw on Pellett Road. 

I first spotted the two young owlets together, poking out of a hole next to the cement side of an irrigation canal. 

I'm finding that I have to stop the car, roll down my window, and wait and it takes awhile for the owls to warily start going about their business. In this case one of the parent owls flew in bringing one of the owlets a cricket or grasshopper. One owlet ran to its parent for a beak-to-beak transfer and then walked back toward it's sibling and gulped down the cricket. 

This is the other owlet next to the pink flag which marks the burrowing owl hole so that farmers do not run over them or otherwise disturb them. 

The other parent stayed back quite a ways, not hunting as far as I could tell, first on a rock and then transferring to a bale of hay. Here are photos of the two parents.

1 comment:

  1. I love that their burrows are marked to protect them from machinery. The sequence of cricket pictures is amazing.