Almost as soon as we entered the grove (the location of which, by the way, I am not allowed to disclose), Brian started gesturing excitedly and pointing. The reason? A beautiful Long-eared Owl perched virtually in full view, just off the path. After all the time I've spent trying to see a long-eared at Hunter Island, it was nice to get one so easily, and to get such good looks. Second lifer of the day, and a great one at that.
Brian wasn't done, however, and we had only walked a few more steps when he spotted a Great Horned Owl near the top of a tall pine. Cool owl #2.
I am not a good digiscoper. At all. But still, that is a Great Horned Owl.
For the finishing touch on hoped-for owl trio, Brian (the owl-whisperer) found a Saw-whet Owl perched in a smaller tree, and we had seen 3 owls in less than 10 minutes. It was probably closer to 5 minutes actually.
The tiny Saw-whet Owl. It was a better view than this photo would suggest.
The owls were the clear highlight of the day, but we still found more birds after our Strigiform success- Ruddy Turnstones, Black-bellied Plovers, Brant, Red-throated Loon, Long-tailed Ducks, a Fox Sparrow in the parking lot, and a Bonaparte's Gull on the way home.
It was a great morning of birding, especailly the grebes and owls. Two lifers, lots of year birds, lots of fun. Another young birder, Brendan Murtha also posted about it on his blog here, if you want to see more owl photos.