Date: 9/3/19 3:05 am From: Ian Worley <iworley...> Subject: [VTBIRD] Close encounters with two night birds.
Last night two different birds-of-the-night became for a few moments my close companions as I was out listening for just such birds.
While the last clouds of the showery day gave way to clear sky and crescent moon low to the west, I went to the well known Whip-poor-will site on Snake Mountain Road in Weybridge continuing to document the species right up to their departure for the year. I heard the first song begin right on schedule at 7:55pm, four minutes before the end of Civil Twilight from the up the hill west of the road somewhat to the northwest. At 8:02pm, 4 minutes after the end of Civil Twilight Bird #2 suddenly out of nowhere raucously joined the vocalizations, causing me to jump in surprise from unexpected and really loud "quirt" greeting calls not more than six feet from me on a low branch of a roadside tree! These calls continued for nearly three minutes becoming softer and softer till they were gentle cooings. During this time the bird stayed right beside me, head-high on the near branch.
A car then approached and passed by. Singing on the hill slope never stopped but the second bird was not heard again. I then began to troll slowly northward by car and heard one additional singing bird on the west side of the road at 0.74 miles north of Forrest Road, a known location. Continued trolling produced no additional whip-poor-wills.
While over the years I've regularly heard nearby singers and callers, and had them land silently at my feet or nearby, never was one so close, so loud, and so talkative. Perhaps a behavior in anticipation of a soon departure to a wintering location? -----------
Then, this morning at home on Snake Mountain 1.5 miles south of the Whip-poor-will site, just after the beginning of Astronomical Twilight I was out listening for owls. Stars above, fog around, fog drops from tree leaves pretending to be drizzle. At 4:44am, at the very instant two Barred Owls began at different pitches, loudly counter-singing "Who cooks for you" songs from woods up behind our house, an Eastern Screech Owl gave three aggressive, agitation squawk calls from a perch by the barn no more than 20-25 feet from me. The Screech Owl then continued with trilling while the counter-singing Barred Owls carried on for several minutes, all three birds filling the silence of the mountain with song. Trilling that close is louder than one might think from such a small owl we normally hear far in the distance.