|A marshy stretch on Barrett Creek . . . . the barn owls' stomping ground.|
Craig thought Barrett Creek was good for another camera trap set.
Though all but dry in early August, a lush swale marked its meandering course, and here and there the ground was even soggy.
It was a little oasis of greenery, but if any critter smelled water there it would have to dig for it.
I predicted that the swale would be a haven for meadow mice and their predators, thinking we might at last get a picture of our long-tailed weasel.
So we trampled down a couple square yards of grass and concealed the camera at the edge of the clearing -- set 388.
Six weeks later the team viewed the photos and found that the camera had taken over 750 photos of pigs, black-tailed deer, and cotton-tails, and not a single carnivore.
But barn owls were the big surprise.
There were 357 photos of them.
Barn owls all look the same to me, but I suspect it was one or two birds that visited 32 times on 26 nights, and almost always before midnight.
On only two successive nights however did a pair of owls show up in the same picture, and in three frames they curtsied.
I need an experienced owler to tell me if this was courtship, threat, or begging for food.
Or maybe the introduction to a cakewalk?
The bigger question though is what exactly were they doing there?