Saturday, February 6, 2010
Western Burrowing Owls at the Berkeley Marina
After spending an hour or so around sunset the night before at Cesar Chavez Park on the Berkeley Marina (see the post), we came back the next day to try our hand again at spotting the western burrowing owls that winter there. I've read that there are five individuals there this winter, and we spotted only two of them on this trip.
These guys are actually quite small (not all that much bigger than the ground squirrels that were so abundant in the area), and were really hard to spot initially. They blend in perfectly with the area around their burrows.
Mostly they spent their time squatting in or right by their borrowed burrows, and we only saw this one fly once over a short distance. Unfortunately, it was due to a human visitor who decided it was pertinent to make hooting sounds and lean over the protective fence towards it. This spooked the poor little guy and it flushed back to its further away hole. This was really a bummer for me, since this was the only time we found one of them close to the fence, and with a nice green area around it too.
Once back to the burrow, he stood outside of it, and we got to see all of him for a short time before he dropped back inside. Regardless of if it was inside or out of the burrow, those big golden eyes were always dancing about.