Parker River NWR views
1/19/2008

A lump in a tree turns out to be a Northern Saw-whet Owl at the Pines Trail:

This lump on the ground turned out to be a Short-eared Owl. The owl had just captured a nice, plump
vole when we happened along. In the first image, you can see that the owl is mantling its prey.

The hunter was certainly aware of our presence in vehicles on the road and

eventually flew a short distance off, carrying the vole. We did not see the owl toss down
its prey, though it went through some contortions in the grass.

After a few minutes, the owl flew off to the right, not carrying the vole.
Surely the salt marsh is not an optimal place to cache prey. We followed
the owl by car and found it perched atop a marker pole,
being casually harassed by crows.

Hence the staring, alert posture. A handsome bird that left us with a minor
puzzle and an appreciation of the hunters in the marsh.

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