It has been almost a complete month since our last post! Some of our regular readers have been dropping us little notes wondering if we are okay. We are doing quite well, but Mary and I have been busy. We flew back to the United States to attend our nephew’s wedding in California and took time to visit with Missy and Brian in Carlsbad. We even took a few days to be tourists to tour the harbor at San Diego and relive some of my old Navy days.
We have been back for less than a week and have been busy with Thanksgiving dinners, birthday parties, shopping, and planning for some special Christmas activities. I took a lot of photos at Patricia and Marshall’s annual Thanksgiving dinner and many more at Susan’s surprise birthday party hosted by Ramon and Nura Garcia. We will share those with you soon and catch you all up on what we are doing, but quickly tonight we wanted to share a couple of pictures we took this morning.
Each morning Mary and I like to a take a few minutes sitting on the deck off of the guest bedroom watching the early morning show orchestrated by scores of different species of birds greeting the day and foraging around for insects and bits of food. As some of you who have visited here know we live up against the hill on the east side of our village. That hill rises up several hundred feet and provides a habitat for many small animals and the large birds that hunt them.
This morning I was scanning the hillside when I noticed this bird perched in a bare tree half way up the mountain.
It is difficult to see much detail because the bird was sitting about two tenths of a mile away from our deck looking over the valley below. We are used to seeing turkey vultures and various hawks and small owls along that hillside, but this was a new visitor to our valley and looked like it was some kind of large owl.
I ran for my camera and the binoculars and Mary went in search of our Field Guide to the Birds of Ecuador. I tried to will the distant bird into flying closer to our porch so that I could get some better pictures while Mary discovered that this is a juvenile spectacled owl. The field guide told us that these birds are over a foot and half long and are large and powerful owls with no ear tufts. The adults have more brown in their bodies, but the juveniles are mostly white with black around the eyes and brownish wings.
These birds are nocturnal, but are often seen in the early morning prior to returning to a roost in the think undergrowth.
Just after I took this last picture the great bird spread its’ wings and flew out of sight behind a stand of trees presumably to rest up for the day.
We have been welcomed home by all of our friends, but we felt especially honored to be welcomed back to Ecuador by this young spectacled owl here where…
Life is good in Ecuador!