January 4, 2002

In the hour before first light I walked the woods trying to move closer to the owl calling his last notes of the night.

Winter means different things to different animals. To the deer in this area it's a time to conserve energy. I noticed that all my boot tracks in the snow from previous days have deer tracks over them. The deer are now using my tracks as trails, so they can save energy my not having to break through the snow.

To the owls, winter is a time to find a mate and start a nest. Owls hatch their young monthes before most other birds. The time when owls have to provide the most food for their young coincides with the arrival of the return migration of song birds in early spring.

During the winter owls become more vocal as they announce their presence to rivals and potential mates. I'm trying to nail down the location of an owl so that I can eventually photograph it. Today I never did find him, but I learned enough to know where to start my search out next time.

On the way back I did manage to get more photos of pheasants highlighted against the snow.

January 7, 2002

January 3, 2002