Will and I were very excited to be included in a treasure hunt of sorts last weekend the first of March. Along with several local legends participating in the Region 8 Big Year , we were off to the depths of Greene County in search of a mythical roosting spot of the famed Long-Eared Owl. So after much preparations, for you cant go on a journey empty handed, a little Birdie ( Wills cell phone) told us of a winding path where upon an old farm did lie. Though private was it staked permission was in supply. As the legend goes there was once a great party that happened upon the very spot we were a many years ago and had spied the owls roosting. But upon seeing the bliss the owls found in their mossy home the party retreated swearing ne’er to tell a soul. That was until 20 or 30 years ago when in curiosity the party dared to venture back to that famed roost , and were shocked to find not a trace of the owls, as if the owls had vanished.
And so it came that as we neared, there on the path stood a Brave (Rich Guthrie) who fore told the work we had before us. To find any traces of these mysterious owls we would have to comb the thick forest leaving no stone unturned no tree un-looked. But even though there were those who feigned at the task at hand the Brave had faith that if we looked hard enough surely we would find a trace, dare a glimpse of the Long-Eared Owl.
Off we went through bog and field, across creek and hill and in to the forest two by two. Once breached the trees did giveway to a mossy bed where ancient stone walls did lay. A canopy above a carpet below only whispers on the wind telling which way to go (Bill Lees walkie-talkies). Bill and Will and I did climb , incessantly I talked from behind worried Id miss something I should have spied. Graciously they inclined sharing knowledge along the way (I’m surprised I didn’t scare all the birds away). Then upon a sight we came small gray mounds from the trees did fall across the mossy floor, hundreads in all. I gathered a few in hand, pellets the other two said and I came to understand it was time to look up! So search we did not too high, not too low and for a time a searching we did go. Till there we did spy with its quite watchful eyes that magic Long-Eared Owl who it seemed had watched us all the while. As quite as a goast and still as a Mountain, close to the trunk the owl sat in watchful vigil. There came a breeze yet still he sat while the trees seemed speak around him. The party gathered to see the bird and he posed for a picture or two. Then after much watching he’d had his fill and off through the forest he flew. And that was it that’s all she wrote hes off , not to be seen again. But Ive heard it told if you wander that way you may still feel his eyes watching you. Danika M Raup