We are currently locked in a crazy, warm spell with calm sometimes foggy days and near wind-less nights. It's so warm that you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's early spring. Eastern Chipmunks are still active in our yard and this evening I heard a Spring Peeper at Turner's Falls power canal - just crazy for mid-December!
Yesterday evening I was out with Matan and decided to try a couple of spots in Gill for Eastern Screech-owl. Just about all of my Franklin County screech-owls have come from the hotspot of Turner's Falls where, with a little effort, it's not too difficult to hear or sometimes see one. Gill on the other hand is a different story altogether. With a bit of effort it's possible to find Barred, Great Horned and Northern Saw-whet Owls in Gill with some regularity but despite living in the area since 2010, screech-owls have eluded me altogether, and that's not for a lack of trying.
But yesterday evening was different. Just after 5pm I tried a couple of spots on River Road close to the Connecticut River. At the first, one owl gave the classic descending whinny calls, distant but unambiguous all the same. At the second, I had two birds calling back and forth for a few seconds, both giving a peculiar screech or bark that sounded (to me) quite reminiscent of the 'kew' calls of Northern Saw-whet Owl. So, at last, screech-owls do exist in Gill.......it's just taken me five years to find them!