Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Young Great Horned Owls cavorting in Harahan batture

Just got back from another batture evening stroll.  This time I decided to walk a stretch of batture-incognita (for me), upstream from the Huey P Long Bridge to the high tension wire crossing a mile (?) upstream.

The batture is nice and wide in this stretch; wooded areas with swales are dissected by several industrial areas, including a large gravel yard.

A Common Nighthawk was doing its courtship display just outside the batture, over the warehouses.   Peenting with flutter, stair-stepping up into the sky.  I did see one dive, but a vehicle drove past at the instant of its nadir, so I was not able to hear the whoosh.

As dusk fell, I spied a large heavy bird flying upstream, well into the batture- immediately had a different feel than the Little Blue Herons and Black-crowned Night-Heron I had seen flying the other direction.  I put my glasses on it- Great Horned Owl, gliding and flapping at tree top level.

It teed atop a naked snag, and immediately became awkward, shifting position,  unbalanced.  In a few moments, another in the foliage (vines) below began flapping clumsily as well.  The lower bird jumped out to another naked branch, and the first plopped down into the vines.  After a few minutes they both took positions on snaggled branches, looking restless. 

I was not close enough to see plumage indications of immaturity, and they were adult sized, but in my experience this sort of goofiness is usually a good sign you are dealing with juvenile raptors.

They were barely on the downstream edge of where the high tension towers cross River Road.

Good birding, Peter

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