Monday, June 29, 2015

At 4:30 a.m.? What the . . . ?

We like it here because it’s quiet and private. We have no neighbors close by. No one can see our house from the road. And even Google Earth can’t see the place because of the trees. Perfect.

But then there are the jets . . . Whidbey Naval Air Station is located up at the northern end of the island. We live in the southern middle of the island. A few miles away is something called the Outlying Field, where, from time to time, Navy jets practice touching down and immediately taking off again, as they might have to do on an aircraft carrier.

Are the jets loud? Well, yeah. But not horrendously so. And for me, a Navy brat, military jet roar is nothing new, nothing really bothersome. And we are a distance from the OLF, so I’m not perturbed. And, frankly, I’m looking forward to standing right next to the field one day and photographing the action. And it's not like they're out there every day all day. Just once in awhile.

What I wasn’t prepared for, especially at 4:30 in the morning, were the ear-piercing shrieks and squawks of at least two, and maybe three, barred owls. At first I thought I was hearing dogs barking. And I was sort of cranky, thinking someone should be attending to their pets. But unless dogs have learned to hoot, these were not dogs. These were owls, perhaps two defending their territory against an intruding third owl, and all of them were screaming, barking, and doing howler monkey/kookaburra/toucan impersonations.

I had read about this. I had heard some of their “calls” online. And I had heard a great horned owl in Palm Springs one evening bark like a dog as a cat climbed a tree toward its chick. But on this super-silent night, when all hell broke loose and reverberated off the trees, I was completely unprepared for the drama.

And they weren’t even in our yard! They were on the next property to the north. Oh, my. Something to look forward to tomorrow morning when, if we’re “lucky,” the party will be held at OUR place . . . B.Y.O.M. (bring your own mice).

We had another guest at the front door this afternoon. I took a video, but I don’t know how to upload it here. Perhaps another day for that . . .

©Carol Leigh
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