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That one got a bit long so I thought I would start afresh.
Lonediver asked if I could come down and help out today. Well I didn't get there in time to help so I was official photographer.
If ever you want an interesting, exciting day out, I recommend going to check the whole thing out for yourself. LD has done an amazing job and he is very generous with his knowledge of not only the owl but of all the various trees, shrubs and grasses he has growing to encourage wildlife. I can tell you this is going to be a wildlife paradise when he is done.
On a personal note, LD, I think what you are doing is amazing. Hanging out with you today gave me an even deeper appreciation of what one person can do to give native wildlife somewhere to live and thrive as their original habitat slowly disappears. Already, despite how new all of the planting is (there are SO many trees!) there are a lot of birds calling this garden home. I can't wait to see the creek!
Without further ado, here are the images I took for LD today. Thanks again for a great day! This first image was created for my benefit. Smiles. Though it was finished just today, there were a lot of prospective tenants checking out the place.
A close up of one of the owls. Photographing them is a challenge to say the least. I didn't have my telephoto lens so I used my wide angle. Here is the drill for getting close enough. One person goes ahead. If two go, they spook quicker. You move a few foot, stop, wait, move forward again and snap as you go. This is the closest I got all day.
This is how I saw the owls much of the day. From what I believe, the males are the ones that stay outside the nest. There were times when we would see two heads. If we got too close, one would disappear and the other would stay outside for just so long. When we got too close to the male, he would take off trying to get us away from the nest.
Now THIS is going to be cool! Here is LD showing me the caps for the tubes in the center of the structure. He is going to put infared cameras down those tubes. The tubes dead end into buckets (can be seen in previous post). This is where the nests will be. I for one can not wait to see THOSE images.
No problem. It is an honour to submit this post on LD's behalf. He will be reading this so I won't embarrass him to much but he is a remarkable man. He is 100% dedicated to turning his bit of land into a wildlife paradise. It is indeed very awesome!
Hot dang Ben. That is so cool and what a way to spend a day.
How much is rent? I think I want to move in but I'll need a bigger tube to squeeze down into. More like a big o'l storm drain for me.
LD is an inspiration. I think I need to rethink what I have going on in the backyard.
Cheers Audrey! It was a lot of fun being out there today. Thank you to LD for the invite.
Hey Ray! It was an awesome day out mate I'm tellin' ya. LD is a HUGE inspiration. The amount of work and effort involved in not only THIS project but the planting of both live and dead trees is extraordinary. I will be making another post on his behalf of how he "plants" saguaro skelletons. Interesting stuff I'm telling ya! To me, this is the epitome of what should be happening in a dedicated area of a low desert garden. He has me rethinking too.
Oh, and as far as rent, I'm with ya! Those owls have it good. But, like you, I would need a much bigger pipe.
That was quick Ben , I thought you said you would get them up monday . Thanks for getting them up . I have always found myself technologically challenged when it comes to electronic gadgets . It was fun having you here , the place is still a little rough around the edges and very young yet but it is alive and thriving somewhat . It is still winter and a lot is down at the moment .
Marie , come sometime in March or early April I will try to have a day on a weekend where a group can come down . Looking at events coming I see I will have to avoid plant sale days . Phoenix and Tucson .
Oh Marie , when they put that freeway through your house you should have the money to buy one of the parcels around me . Out of the 5 parcels that touch on mine , 4 are still vacant . All approximately 4 acres each . The one nuisance here is having to haul your water . It is nice and quiet though .
Ben , that one desert willow is yours , I will be glad to give you a planting container , loan you tools , get you some dirt . But bring your own mulch/compost , transplanting solution . Those are always in short supply around here .
If there might be any others interested in some desert willows I have about 25 to 30 " volunteers " around here growing where I do not want them . If you would like some come and get them because I will be cutting them down otherwise .
Marie, thank you for the compliment on my photos. They are not nearly as sharp as I would like. One day when I get my $2000 telephoto (paparazzi style lens), I will get some AMAZING shots as I can be several feet away and yet get in very close.
Hey lonediver, I couldn't help but get to work right away. I was pleased with a few of the shots. I hope you are too. It was a real pleasure meeting you and taking the tour around all the nesting sites.
Cheers for the willow. I should probably get back up there before it comes out of dormancy though. I look forward to digging it out!
Thanks Brenda. The owls are VERY beautiful and FUNNY as hell! When they do that bobbing up and down thing and make their noises, it's a sight! It is always so much fun to study an animal and learn about its personality. I would love to set up a screen near a hole so I could observe them without scaring them.
OT: Ben, unless you're taking low light shots, you can have a really good Nikkor telephoto lens (70 - 300, with VR) for about $600. The one that is a thousand dollars more is really only needed if your taking pics of Britney at night.
Thought that I would post a few pics of a natural nest . There is one owl here on my property that insists on doing it the old fashioned way , spurnning my work at providing housing . He set out on his own just 20 feet or so away from the others . Here in Arizona these birds will often times find an existing ground squirel hole/tunnel . They will take over this existing structure and double or more the diameter of the old . I have pictures here of both a ground squirel hole/entrance and one that has been taken over by an a burrowing owl . I placed a soda pop can adjacent to and in these entrances to give a sense of size/scale . First the ground squirels typical entrance .
Now you will see that the can can be stood vertically upright once placed in the hole/tunnel . This nest is rather new , neighboring nests that are around in the area are somewhat larger with much more mounding around the entrance . Sometimes various livestock manure that the birds have gathered will be observed arranged in a somewhat circular patern at a small distance away from the hole . This is done to attract dung beetles which will serve as food . So these birds can be farmers raising thier own food stock for consumption .
This is going to be very cool. lonediver will be an owl daddy!
I'm imagining strapping a camera helmet on an owl head and sending it into the nest so we can have live pictures of the birthing! ... or hatching or whatever they do.
Glad to see you're up and running, again, lonediver! Bet you got lots of work done around your place!
For any that might be interested , I am posting an eighteen page set of instructions that I got from Wild at Heart on how to go about building burrowing owl habitat . Descriptions ranging from single to 16 cluster units and parts lists of materials needed . So far I have built two seperate 8 cluster units with plans for building a third maybe next year .
Not that much of an experiment really , I got some advice and this set of instructions from Wild At Heart . Adapted them to a little more of my liking and circumstances . On page one they describe the type of habitat or land surroundings that the owls like but in my own expieriences/observations I knew that thier ( Wild At Heart ) was not 100 % true . I had some discussion with one of the founders at a later time and brought this up . His reply was " I guess that the owls did not read the materials " .
We both laughed , in any case my take on the world is do you know what an expert is ?
Some one who has maybe a LITTLE more expierience than you at something !
Nuff said .
I remember years ago being interviewed about some other subjects/things by different writers and they never get it all right even after interviewing in person . They often expand on what the interview says at an attempt I supopose to make a story " more " interesting . And then they will ignore finer details . I got somewhat discouraged by/at writers .
If you know of some place that would publish what I would write myself , I might attempt it .