Out messing around these past few days took me into Wright County.

Nearing dark ~4:30 pm, I decided to stick around to watch the expansive tall grass fields where 3-5 Northern Harriers were gliding over hunting.

I walked the two track that bi-sected the main field over to a tree line where blackbirds were coming in to roost. Five species of blackbirds were present: C. Grackle, B.H. Cowbird, R.W. Blackbird, Brewer's and Rusty Blackbirds.

On the two track were owl pellets scattered here and there, and my hopes were high at first.

As darkness began to take over the field and not having seen an owl emerge from the grasses, I started toward the truck (still on the two track path). There was a small patch of sparse vegetation (where there was a void in the 3-4 foot tall yellow grasses). It was here, less than 20 yards away from me, that two Short-eared Owls sprung into the air and took to wing. My spirits soared with them as they began their evening hunting routine.

What a feeling of total elation sweeps over me when I can walk into a foreign area that just looks "RIGHT" for a certain species and have it validated with a sighting or call! I left the area with a cool calm sense. What a way to end an evening!

Bird On my fellow birders, into the new year!

Chris Barrigar
Stoddard Co.
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