Thursday, April 9, 2015

Nullifying a Nocturnal Near-Nemesis

That's it below; that is my lifer Western Screech-Owl from ages past. I've run into so many people over the years that have seen this bird when out walking their dogs at night, perched in a citrus tree, a yard-bound cactus, or even on a street sign. Surely I too will have such an opportunity, I thought. As was often the case through grade school, high school, college, and various relationships...I thought wrong.

I'd hear WESOs plenty often, but never did I have that golden opportunity that seemed to present itself unwittingly to non-birders and birders alike. I'd seen it once, but never again. WESo was turning into a kinda Mobius Dick. 

This past week I met up with some prodigious bird-bloggers along the Salt River for some seasonal owling. We heard plenty of WESOs, had looks at Elf and Great-horned, and a Common Poorwill almost took my head off flying by. Eventually I had to get home and wouldn't ya know, they soon after found an absurdly accommodating WESO. Crushing occurred, selfies were posed, and as was often the case through grade school, high school, college, and various relationships...I was not a part of the party. 

So I returned several days later, and this time I convinced more people to come with me, including people that aren't normally into the birds. Pretty clever eh? With a full-moon lending its light, we managed to hear but not see Elf and Great-horned Owls, likewise with the Poorwill, but this time we heard, and then got killer looks at, Western friggin' Screech-Owl. 

It took some trudging through thick mesquite and abrasive, sock-destroying fox-tail grass, but eventually we found some nice spots and waited (instead of chasing after those calling owls, the mistake I often impatiently make). They came in to investigate our calls. There were intense stare-offs.

Frodo didn't feel so good when he finally ditched the Ring of Power (to be fair, he did lose a finger in the exchange) nor did Luke Skywalker when he sunk his proton torpedos down the Death Star's scandalously exposed exhaust shaft. Captain Ahab didn't feel so good when he finally found his oblivion, nor  Hercules when he completed his 12th labor. Catharsis, you are mine.