Thursday, April 30, 2009

Owl People

I was out for my morning ride yesterday. There is a group of us that ride our cycles first thing in the morning, leaving our meeting place around 5:30 and riding down the Atlantic coast as the sun comes over the horizon. Most of the other guys out there realize that I have another side - the dark falconer side of me- and they will sometimes ask me bird related questions, or we'll talk about different aspects of hunting.

Yesterday, early in the ride, before the sun peeked above the Atlantic, and the skidding clouds were awash in brilliant oranges, a large black silhouette passed over our heads on its way from the coast. None of these pictures are mine - they are only to give you a better visual.

The guys all looked to me to see what it was. Definitely an owl, most likely a barred, maybe a great horned. I wasn't quite close enough to see, and we were moving along at about 20 miles an hour, so I couldn't stop to stare.


Here's the question. Why would either of those owls be hunting on the beach overnight? Owls wouldn't eat sand crabs would they? Would there be other prey overnight on the beach? I've never seen rats or mice there. What else could it be? Any ideas?


PBurns said...

Possums eating crabs and dead fish? A possum will eat anything. Also, how about nabbing ground-nest shore birds and the rats after their eggs?


Doug said...

Not the right spot for shore birds, though, maybe some sand pipers or possibly pigeons from beneath the houses.

I've never seen rats on the beach at night, but I'm sure they are out there. It just seems like such an odd place to hunt.

Anonymous said...

Could it be rabbits and mice in the zone right up to the dune line? There are lots of rabbits between the highways at dusk in the spring...wonder if they are out at dawn also.

Doug said...

There are some spots near the dune line that my hold rabbits. But where this owl was - unfortunately, there is no dune. It is road, houses, then beach. But I do think that maybe mice and rats that are scavenging on the beach could be a possibility.
It just seems like there would be better sites to hunt further from the beach where there are woods and fields.