Friday, November 19, 2010

Utley Nov. 19, Owling and enjoying a good smoke.

  Well, so it went.  I had what I hoped would be a nice camp fire lined up outside but after lighting it up tonight, discovered that drought kilt Cedar Elm is not the best choice of fuel for that purpose…I remembered that then, almost as bad as willow on the old fishing trips to Granger and Lake Sommerville…….…As everyone  knows, no matter where you sit around a campfire, the smoke will follow you and Cedar Elm makes a ton of smoke and seems to be especially fond of people……We shortly were literally “cured”.  But it burnt well and a lot of those little brown stink bugs left the ship so to speak as things got hot.

  The results for our Long-eared Owl efforts were mixed.  Nothing replied to  recordings close by, that we heard or saw, but at 9:07 there were four  “Who” notes from well down the hill, fairly distant,  spaced about 3 seconds apart…And then no more…We were to busy chatting at the time as well……No total agreement was reached on the culprit and none of  us know the calls well other than via the online recordings provided by the folks  on Texbirds .…I lean toward LEOW however…….Anyway we left the smoke and walked down to the road hoping for more calls…Walking down the road under a bright moon we attracted the attention of a few dogs.   The road is only about a mile and a third long but I swear there must be 12-15 dogs on it because once we got  greetings from  two we soon had dogs as far as we could hear  along the road wishing to make our acquaintance as well…It was aggravating but the dogs here are just not used to people walking this dead end road at night…Doing their jobs well I guess….We heard no owls before returning to the property….. just the dogs and a loud diesel pickup which slowed  enough to only coat us lightly with caliche dust as it passed..

  We heard the whistling wings of a Woodcock as we walked up the road to the cabin.

  Had moderately good looks at a Screech Owl  I whistled in, heard 2 Barred Owls down on Wilbarger Creek and bless it’s soul, a Barn Owl called twice despite the bright moon though it was not seen…Strangely no Great  Horneds were heard.

Raccoons quarreled in the woods, an Armadillo shuffled thru the leaves,  a rooster crowed and a donkey brayed (I reckon fired up by the dogs).  A possum was on the porch when we returned eating sweet potato skins and some stuff the cat did not want and clattering about with an oily sardine can, blissfully and completely ignorant of our presence…..

    Had a black light out for bugs, but it only drew in a handful of moths of the dull sort.

   I was stingy and did not want to burn good seasoned oak for a campfire on the return and since we already smelled like walking ash trays and cigar butts , I threw some more old Cedar Elm on the coals which I needed to be rid of anyway, plus some large chunks of bamboo , some 2+ inches in dia, for  the “fireworks”  which surprised all, even me on such a quiet night….I was worried it might alarm the neighbors, it was so loud…… …….Laundry tomorrow for sure.