So Sunday I went out to Island 22 in hopes of my first Western Screech Owl. Gord from the Fraser Valley Birds posted a picture on the Fraser Valley rare birding forum. The Screech Owl is a pretty rare bird nowadays in Greater Vancouver area. The habitat they used to reside in has been overthrown by the larger, Barred Owl.
A recent study by one Ornithologist, found Screech Owls absent from over 75% of locations where they were once known to breed. In the Fraser Valley, Screech Owls are still relatively common, for Owls atleast.
So when I got to Island 22, I started methodically checking each evergreen tree. After about an hour, I saw a large Hemlock that was very Isolated in a forest of Decidious Brush. I had to bushwack myself towards the tree, I still have scratches from the Thorns. When I made it to the tree, I was startled to find a pair of gorgeous eyes staring down at me. It wasn't the Screech Owl, but a Saw Whet Owl.
Here's where there should be a really good picture of a Saw Whet Owl. Unfortunately, im an idiot, and I forgot to put the battery back in my camera before I left in the morning. It was till back at home, sitting on the charger! Cosmic Letdown...
Anyways, after seeing this Owl, and realizing I had no camera, I was dreading what other wonders I would find. I didn't find anything to match the Saw Whet, but I did find a Great Horned, roosting at eye level, another photo opportunity wasted by my absent mindedness. I flusehd two Ruffed Grouse, a pleasant suprise, as these are almost extirpated from the Greater Vancouver area. On the way home I spotted an American Kestrel on the wires along Highway one.