A Song for July 24

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Trying to finish up some work with Andrew Rush on the Western Flycatcher this morning, I may have left San Francisco a little late. At least that's how it felt as the daylight slipped away and I still hadn't found a campsite. In fact I hadn't even reached the national forest, but it all worked out. I topped out in some Coulter pines and there in the headlights was a dirt road to the right, leading to Alder Creek Campground. I didn't need the campground, just the grassy shoulder beside the road. We made camp then and there, Rhea and Abbie and I. Rhea the shepherd bounded around the open space after being cooped up for three days in the car or in some person's house. Abbie the poma-poo enjoyed sniffing everything. They were two Oregon dogs moving to South Carolina and we were near the first of several bird-oriented destinations along the way --Kern River Reserve. You'll hear it tomorrow.

Tonight we were treated to the screeches of juvenile Great Horned Owls. I have heard such calls from coast to coast, but these are the first ones I've heard in doublet format. The young birds kept moving around, landing awkwardly in the tops of pines, hoping--I believe firmly--that their calls would summon an adult with food. I fear they were disappointed, but maybe not. I have heard these calls in October, and it is hard to imagine any bird begging futilely for three months, so perhaps in July these were still being attended.

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Nathan D. Pieplow. 2017. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Eastern North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Nathan D. Pieplow. 2019. Peterson Field Guide to Bird Sounds of Western North America. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.
Donald Kroodsma. 2005. The Singing Life of Birds. Houghton Mifflin.