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February 2009

Screech Owl Nesting Box Basics: Rule 1

Screech owl asleep
                                                                                                   Archival photo of our neighbor, Ace

    This post is part of a continuing series of posts about Eastern Screech Owls -- and attracting one to your back yard. 

   I have had an owl box just beyond my backyard for more years than I can count at this point, and I have learned a lot -- from asking experts, observing, or learning the hard way. 

  I thought I should share what I have learned. 

   Other owlers may suggest different advice. Theirs may be just as useful. One thing I have learned: No two screech owls are alike.   

   Here are is the first of my Top 10 Rules for attracting Screech Owls -- with big-time advice from David Johnson of the Global Owl Project. (Thanks, David!)   

    Click "Continue reading..." for the first rule.

Continue reading "Screech Owl Nesting Box Basics: Rule 1" »

Rob Fanning's Celery Farm Big Years

   Drum roll, please...
   Rob Fanning has been kind enough to share his Celery Farm Big Year totals with us.
   I am going to post them, with a little perspective: A Celery Farm Big Year for my friend Seymour Drakes (or me for that matter) is when the total is in double figures.
   Here are Rob's totals. I do not know if they have been notarized. :- )
  1999: 154 (153 seen)
  2000: 150 (147 seen)
  2001: 163 (158 seen)
  2002: 162 (159 seen)
  2003: 156 (150 seen)
  2004: 158 (152 seen)
  2005: 166 (162 seen)
  2006: 183* (179 seen) *Contest year w/ Stiles
  2007: 171 (167 seen)
  2008: 175 (172 seen)

First Wood Duck of the Year?

Wood duck2

    On a walk around the Celery Farm on Sunday, my good friend Seymour Drakes and I saw this lone female Wood Duck.

   Our first reaction: Could this be the female that was hanging around with the male Mallard last fall?  Click here for link. We think you'll find the proof fairly persuasive.  The tilt of the head, the arch of the eye...



Trail Repair

Boardwalk tree down
  Remember those strong winds of last week? They knocked down a tall Ash tree in the Celery Farm and created a domino effect.
   Branches covered the boardwalk by the Dead Zone until Deputy Marsh Warden Mike Limatola (above, right) cut
them away and removed as many of them as he could.
   The good news is that the boardwalk was not damaged, and the path is passable again thaCleaned boardwalknks to Mike, with a minor assist from Seymour Drakes.
    At left is a shot of the cleared path (sorry for the black-and-white shot, new camera, wrong setting).
   If the trees' fall had not been blunted when they lodged in the crook of another tr
    Mike, by the way, can usually be seen on weekends walking the trails and keeping everything (and everyone) in order.
    Thanks, Mike!


Stiles Thomas' 2006 Checklist -- and a huge controversy



We are lucky to have a digital copy of another Celery Farm Big Year -- this one is from 2006, and it totals 175 birds.
    The birder is the
marsh warden himself, Stiles Thomas. (click "Continue reading..." for the entire list.)
Stiles says that he is really embarassed and reluctant to point this out, but he couldn't help but notice that Fred Weber's recently posted record-setting list had not been properly notarized.
   Our hands are tied. We have no choice but to put an asterisk next to Fred's record. 

    That is really unfair, and I personally think it stinks to high heaven, but bylaws are bylaws.
Why have bylaws if they are not enforced uniformly?
   Sorry, Fred. Life can be so unfair. Stiles says no one feels worse about this than he does.

Continue reading "Stiles Thomas' 2006 Checklist -- and a huge controversy" »