Sunday, October 16, 2011

Pygmy-Owl After Dark

Due to the unfortunate reality called “school” that affects most people my age, I have not been doing too much dedicated birding lately.  However, because of the demands of being in the midst of cross country season, I have been running in excess of 40 miles per week, providing excellent opportunities for “Sweaty Sanderling” birds.  Despite this quantity of running, I have only seen two new SWSA birds since my last posting to this blog in July . . . Red Crossbill and Northern Pygmy-Owl.  This post is written to commemorate the finding of the latter species.

My cousin was visiting from Austria and we spent a day exploring Rocky Mountain National Park.  We returned home late and missed our XC practice on that fateful day of October the 3rd.  An overly tired Welch, stiff from a long day in the car insisted we run after dinner.  This was inconvenient in many ways . . .  one, it doesn’t feel to good to run after a meal, and two, it was nearly dark.  But I had to run, and run I did.  A half-mile in, I felt like puking due to the unseemly amount of elk, beans, vegetable stir-fry, and other delicacies I had consumed only minutes earlier.  The feeling didn’t subside until I finished the 7-mile slog of a run, but I would find it to be well worth the discomfort.

In the rapidly fading light, I passed our driveway, dropping off Welch, who had a shorter distance to run.  Here, I heard a lone Green-tailed Towhee meow its final salute to the passing day.  I kept running.  Soon after, I heard another call, this one welcoming the night.  This, my friends, was the call of one of the most awesome birds on planet Earth, the toot . . . toot . . . toot of the Northern Pygmy-Owl.  I hollered for Welch, but he had already retreated into the well-lit interior of the house.  “Sucks for him,” I sadly thought as I finished my run.
SWSA Totals
Miles Run: 957
Species: 184

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