When life gets a little too exciting, it is nice to chill out and commune with nature. And sometimes there is no better place to do that than from your own yard. (There is a lot of stuff going on lately that I haven't disclosed in the blog. Maybe later, or maybe never. Some family stuff and lots of drama at work, among other things. Thus, the lack of posts other than photoblogging lately.)
I spent some time outside in my yard at dusk this evening after a draining day at work. Moxy was entertaining as she hunted squirrels from tree to tree. Zima followed me around as we watched Moxy's exploits. Moxy's becoming quite the climber. Getting back down is still the hardest part, but eventually she figures out that she can't go down head first and it all works out.
Standing at the edge of the woods with the cats, I heard a familiar call - "Who cooks for you? Who cooks for you-all?" It was a barred owl (strix varia), perched in a nearby tree. The owl was watching Moxy, too. I fetched my binoculars for a better look and the owl obliged by sticking around for a while. It was too dark to get a decent photograph, but not too dark to observe the owl with binocs. There are a pair of them who have claimed our neighborhood as their territory. These owls are frequent visitors to our yard, which has lots of hardwood trees and a creek running through the back. We hear them more often than we see them, but both owls made appearances tonight. If we are lucky, there will be some owlets to watch later in the spring and early summer.
If you find owls as fascinating as I do, you may enjoy exploring the OwlCam website. Some folks in Eastern Massachusetts built an owl house, and a pair of barred owls took residence and raised families there over multiple years. They have a lot of information and some spectacular photo and video footage of the owls and owlets, as the owl house was wired for audio and video. There is a nifty library of owl sounds, so you can figure out if the hoots in your own yard are from barred owls.