Sunday, March 18, 2012

First Monitoring Outing

We waited till late afternoon before we  both felt brave enough to take a shot at doing the first nestbox monitoring.  (What with the nutso weather, hail, rain, snow, hail again, rain again, sunshine for a while.)  We've got six nest boxes put up either on Dryad Ranch or on adjoining neighbor's places and we were eager to see if any birds had decided to check them out.

We gathered up the ladder, the clipboard and monitoring data sheet, a long pole and a specially-made plug for the nest hole and headed out.  We didn't see evidence of kestrels, but two of the boxes had evidence of another species, probably starlings, and as we approached a third, we saw a bird fly away from the vicinity of the box.  We are leaning strongly toward thinking it was an owl of some sort, possibly a Western Screech-owl.  That box had definite signs of interest, with a depression in the wood shavings we'd placed in it, and no evidence of grass or sticks that would indicate starling activity.  The other three boxes - no signs of bird interest yet.

I also got out and about before lunch to do a decent fungus hunting foray in between raindrops and was gratified to find some.  It has been a very disappointing year for fungus because of the lack of rain and I didn't want to let a good opportunity go to waste.  Of course, tomorrow would probably be even better, but alas, I'll be trundling off to work in the a.m.

Here is a shot of our pretty landscape this morning from the top of Ant Hill:

And of course!  What you were waiting for, the requisite fungus shot.  This little darling was found in a crevasse in a big downed pine not far from Altar Rock.

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