Monday, 19 May 2014

Eastern Screech Owl

Eastern Screech Owl  Megascops asio
9 May 2014

    I always think that owls and rails are the "best" birds to find, simply because they are generally the most difficult. Eastern Screech Owl is a strictly nocturnal species and roosts in a cavity during daylight hours. It is quite common and I suspect that every wood lot of a hectare or more contains one or two pairs, but finding them is an entirely different matter. Sometimes during the day, they will emerge to sit at the entrance to their hole, a behaviour which, curiously enough, seems to be most obvious during the winter months, when even on a very cold day strong sunlight will bring them out to bask in its warmth. I should add that, though outside their hole, their camouflage often renders them invisible.
   To say that I was delighted to find this individual would be an understatement. I first located it on 9 May and have seen it every day since. I am pretty sure that it has a mate sitting on eggs in the cavity, and there is barely room for two of them inside together.
    The photographs are hardly spectacular, but we do not wish to approach the owl any closer for fear of spooking it, or in any way interfering with its breeding attempt. We have studiously avoided broadcasting the sighting and will continue to monitor the site ourselves. We can only hope that one day soon we may be looking at little owlets perched on nearby branches.


  1. So neat! I haven't seen a screech owl dor decades.

  2. Very nice owl in the tree.
    Let's hope they get little ones.
    Greetings Irma

  3. He's gorgeous, David! Such a wonderful face. Pleased to hear that you're looking after him.

  4. He's blending in there quite well. A great find David!

  5. This owl is very cute :-)

  6. A good find David. It looks a well used hole too, perhaps a traditional site and one you have only just discovered. I think you do right to keep it to yourselves.

    Re your question. Menorca adheres to the EU directive on shooting migratory birds. The two best known and reviled places for the illegal shooting and trapping of migratory birds are in the east of Med - Malta and Cyprus, neither of them Spanish.

  7. Wonderful shot of an owl. He is closing his eyes and thinking deeply!

  8. Hi David,
    I agree fully, I'd rather give up on taking pics then disturbing the birds.
    That's why I hardly ever take photos of birds in or on the nest nor of eggs.4
    I can well image your thrill at finally spotting such a beauty.
    We don't have this species here unfortunately...!
    Fantastic stuff!
    Keep well!

  9. Here I am still a bit jealous of David. I love owls, but I almost never see them. You have here two wonderful pictures and also in a tree! Truly visionary sich.
    My compliments.