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Re: Revisiting the "Long-eared Owl"
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 00:01:22 -0800
From: Rich Cimino


My opinion is no harm done, no inconvenience on the owl identification. It got several of us to get into the field and do some serious owl identifying. We had to open those bookcase owl-specific field guides and carry it into the roost site. I'm sure Dave Bowden would agree too - it got him to finally take a day off of work for a second look.

Rich Cimino

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Re: Great Horned Owl versus Long-eared Owl
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 00:03:13 -0800
From: Larry Tunstall

Note the illustrations on page 249 of the Third Edition of the National Geographic Field Guide to the Birds of North America - the "ears" of the Great Horned Owl and Long-eared Owl look very similar here. Also note the similarity in coloring. In the Sibley Guide to Birds, he shows that this coloring is typical of the eastern Great Horned Owls.

Good birding, Larry

Larry Tunstall
El Cerrito CA

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Lake Temescal (Oakland) & Tilden Nature Area (Berkeley Hills)
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 15:59:33 -0800
From: Dennis and Patricia Braddy


We dipped on the American Dipper at Lake Temescal [Temescal Regional Recreation Area, Oakland] this morning, but a male Belted Kingfisher emitted harsh rattles while flying from perch to perch over the inlet stream, a female Bufflehead and one female Greater Scaup actively fed in the lake where male Ruddy Ducks with cocked tails beat their broad blue bills against rufous breasts, and chattering White-throated Swifts arced overhead while Red-tailed Hawks and Sharp-shinned Hawks played tag in another part of the sky.

In early afternoon, to the delight of half a dozen birders, the juvenile Yellow-bellied Sapsucker continued making its rounds in the eucalyptus east of the visitors center at Tilden Nature Area [Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Hills]. Just uphill near a hidden pond behind the Ranger's Clubhouse a Red-breasted Sapsucker and male and female Townsend's Warblers fed quietly while a noisy pair of Ruby-crowned Kinglets quarreled, one displaying its ruby crown. We checked for the Swamp Sparrow reported some time ago near the water fountain beside the main road/trail to Jewel Lake. No luck. On our way back to the parking lot we heard Nuttall's Woodpecker and Belted Kingfisher and stopped to watch a vocalizing Hairy Woodpecker, a quietly scolding House Wren, and a silent Brown Creeper.

Dennis and Patricia Braddy
San Ramon

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Re: Great Horned Owl versus Long-eared Owl
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 17:33:32 -0800
From: Joseph Morlan

Paul Webster wrote:

Still, the Great Horned Owl is a very large bird.... This owl is nearly two feet long, and it looks big, too, the only other North American owl that looks that massive is a Barred Owl - which is earless and a bit smaller.

Isn't Spotted Owl about the same size as Barred Owl? I think the largest North American owl is actually the Snowy Owl, although the Great Gray Owl may appear larger, it's mostly feathers, just skin and bone underneath.

The Long-eared Owl is much smaller than the Great Horned Owl, only about two-thirds as big, and it's a relatively slender bird, too. In the Bay Area, as in Western Washington the Great Horned Owl is pretty common, and the Long-eared is rare. It also tends to be hard to find, because it is retiring -- it usually roosts in dense trees. When I saw my first Long-eared Owl I saw only its head through a gap in the foliage. I could tell it wasn't a Horned Owl because their faces are different colors.

I wish I could judge size that accurately. Also the facial disk on the Long-eared Owl and Great Horned Owl seem to vary in color to some extent.

I guess what all this means is that if I expect to find the Great Horned Owl rather than the Long-eared Owl, I'll almost always be right - in Western Washington or in Northern California.

Anybody want to guess which one this is?

Joseph Morlan, Pacifica, CA
Birding Classes begin Feb 3 in SF
California Bird Records Committee

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Allen's Hummingbird in Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley Hills
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 19:47:39 -0800
From: Derek Heins

I made a rare trip to Jewel Lake [Tilden Nature Area, Tilden Regional Park, Berkeley Hills] this morning at around 11 AM and the birding was extremely quiet, my sole consolation being an Allen's Hummingbird which was very active around the lake.

Derek Heins

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Re: Allen's Hummingbird in Tilden Nature Area, Berkeley Hills
Sun, 11 Jan 2004 19:51:52 -0800
From: Rusty Scalf

This seems like quite an early arrival date (January 11). I didn't think Allen's Hummingbird showed till the last few days of January. Not true??

Rusty Scalf

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