Eastern Screech-owl (rufous-morph) - Gill, Franklin Co., MA. November 25th, 2016.
Yesterday evening (11/25) was dull, foggy and even a little balmy - it might even have been compared to an evening in early spring. With this in mind, I decided to try a couple of spots in Gill for screech-owls as I made my way home from Turner's Falls. Eastern Screech-owls are reasonably common in Turner's Falls but I have found them to be inexplicably difficult north of Turner's Falls despite repeated attempts in many suitable areas. Yesterday evening I was very fortunate to find a pair of screech-owls in a spot that I felt looked good for years but had never produced them. Moreover, the birds appeared early while there was still plenty of ambient light, at around 16:30,hrs. The male of the pair was an obvious rufous-morph and showed well at close range for several minutes giving the classic "whinny" calls and sometimes the monotone trill. A second spot about three quarters of a mile away also supported a calling bird and again, the "whinny" call could be heard clearly through the fog. In the distance, a Barred Owl gave the classic "who-cooks-for-you" call but just the once. All in all, a very nice little owl session and, remarkably, the first actual views of a screech-owl that I've had in Gill.