From: Chris Howard
Time: 8:49:13 AM
Remote Name: 18.104.22.168
Yesterday, Feb. 11 between 5:30 and 6:00 PM, at the Brockman Lane entrance to Finkbeiner Woods (see http://www.wmrs.edu/birds/hot_spots/brockman.htm) I watched what I believe to be Short-eared Owl. Mind you, I had never seen one before, but I knew I saw what I saw, I think! Fortunately, before it got too dark I was able to get Rosie, Noah, Erin, and Zach on the bird. Although we didn't have any scopes and it was getting fairly dark, we were able to watch it's fascinating foraging behavior.
The flight of this bird is unlike any bird I have ever seen. It flew low, somewhat erratically, over the grassy meadow - a boyant flight with deep flaps, sometimes coasting on flat or dihedral wings. I've read the flight is mothlike...this is very true on this bird.
Again, this evening, Feb. 12 between 5:30 and 6:00 PM the bird was refound by the sharp eyes of Derrick Vocelka. Along with Rosie, and Tom and Jo Heindel, we were able to get good scope-views of the bird, not to mention gaining the confidence that it actually is a Short-eared Owl.
Based on the past two evenings, I imaging there is a good possiblility of seeing it in the next few nights. The bird rested on the same snag and fencepost, and foraged in the same fields each night.
Location: Park at the entrance to Finkbeiner Forest on Brockman Lane. Walk south on Brockman Lane ~100-200 feet before walking through a pass-through into the pasture on the west. From just inside the fence scan the pasture, low above the grass, from due west to due south. It occasionally landed on a fencepost along the wild-rose/fence line. The other (and first) location it was seen was on the east side of Brockman Lane; opposite the walk-through in the fence, look due east into the pasture for a lone willow tree (250 yards) in the middle of the pasture.