Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tropical Screech Owl - a bonus!

This one was a little bit of a surprise, a bonus if you will. You see we already had 3 owls in the bag, all of which we'd seen well in broad daylight notwithstanding their nocturnal habits so venturing out at night to spotlight for mammals and roadcruise for snakes we didn't expect to add another owl. To everyone's surprise, including our guides, we did.

tropical screech owl2

This little Tropical Screech Owl offered us two golden lights in the spotlight and sat still as we approached and bagged a couple of shots to confirm its identity with later (it was a lifer for all concerned and we weren't sure which screech owl this was). I love how these guys can change expressions, puffing up and stretching tall, raising eyebrows and tufts and so forth. I liked the scowl above but the shocked look below cracked me up.

tropical screech owl1

Soooo that was owl number 4 in the bag. Considering its only the 6th owl species I've seen in the world it was quite a full day owlwise. You might say we racked up quite the parliament (if you were a fan of collective nouns, otherwise you might just be like, woah that's a lot of owls or something). Anyway since there is nothing in there for scale I will mention its a pretty small species, this one: about 8 or 9 inches in height/length. They are mostly insect or arthropod eaters taking scorpions, katyids and other nocturnal creepy crawlies as well as the odd little vertebrate. Quite the cutie and remarkably widely distributed - they range over most of the continent east of the Andes.


Keetha said...

Love the owl. I'd just like to see one live and in person - - -

tai haku said...

Thanks Keetha - btw you should be able to see Eastern Screech Owl in Indianna which is pretty close to this one. Your local audubon will probably have someone who knows a location that is good for them.