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  1. #1
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    Default Look what was in Stover Creek shelter!

    This Screech Owl was sitting here when we walked up, and didn't pay us any attention until he flew away after about 5 minutes of us gawking at him. An absolutely beautiful bird, and a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. He didn't seem to mind out company at all.

    This is my brother (who named the owl Jeffery) in the background getting a picture with the owl.



    Anyone else have any cool experiences with animals? I slept with rats, too, but that's to be expected when someone leaves 10 packs of Ramen as trail magic in the shelter.

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  3. #3
    Registered User Different Socks's Avatar
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    Had a skunk in a Smokies shelter walk between the wall and myself in my bag, climb over my feet then back onto me and right up my bag as i lay inside it all the way to my head, jumped off and sniffed my pots then jumped back down.

  4. #4

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    I had a Great Horned Owl(they are BIG owls with Big ear tufts) perched 15 ft above me in a tree where I camped on the Eagle Creek Trail in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. It was who whooing away. I started getting used to it peering down at me as it swiveled its head to the far right and far left in seemingly impossible ways. It was canvassing the small glade where I was camped. It was slightly drizzling as I made my dinner. I felt like I was in an eerie episiode of The Munsters or The Addams Family. Unbeknownst to me a small mouse tip toed over to where I was preparing my meal probably seeking a morsel to eat. Little did the mouse know it was he who was about to become the meal. Out of the corner of my eye I saw a shadow as the owl swooped down in total silence snatching up the mouse not more than 5-6 ft from where I was sitting eating my meal. I fell over backwards off the stump I was sitting on. Scared the f-ing be Jesus out of me but it was cool! Amazingly, I never dropped a sporkful of my dinner. Saw either a Barred or Spotted Owl too(I have trouble positively identifying these two similiar species) further along near where the AT and Eagle Creek trail joins the next day. I've only seen one or two of those that I've positively identified. Saw one fisherman on the whole Eagle Creek Trail. GLORIOUS!

    Have seen three or four Barn Owls with thier Heart shaped face and striking cream colored plumage on hikes They have the most striking colors of any owl I've ever experienced. Have seen many Screech owls on hikes. Screech Owls are apthly named. They have a LOUD piercing call. Had one scare the be Jesus out of me on the Long Trail in Vermont, which is supposedly the far northern range of their distribution, just outside a shelter in a tree as I was settling in for the night. Just when I thought the Screech owl had left it would let out another scrreeeech often startling me beyond explanation. Screech owls have the tendency to let out one of those blood curdling screeches, like a cat in heat, when I least expect it like when I'm hiking by at dusk or just after sunset and haven't yet noticed them. It's amazing to me how loud those little birds are. When I lived in Florida this tiny Burrowing Owl would sit on the outside bedroom windowsill just above where I had the head of my bed and make these hoot hoot how-dee sounds into the night. It's eyes glowed red and green at night. If I opened the curtain slowly, didn't move quickly, and had all the bedroom lights turned off it would just sit there hunting, staring back at me ocassionaly I think not really knowing what it was looking at, and letting out the ocassional hoot hoot how-dee.

    Amazing how I recall so many owl sightings once you asked about them. Lets me know I'm alive and how blessed I am sharing those experiences.

  5. #5
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    Ever hear one of those let loose in the middle of the night? Absolutely terrifying to be woken up to that screech!

  6. #6
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    my guess is that the owl was temporarily startled being in the shelter with you and didn't know exactly what to do for a few minutes (until it flew away) - - - WOO will probably weigh in on this post.

  7. #7
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    i used to be a snowmaker at Jay Peak years ago. one morning about 2AM i was riding up a trail on a full moon nite and saw one of these just sitting in the middle of the trail
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=nHxYfMHJ1ar

  8. #8
    Registered User Papa D's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i used to be a snowmaker at Jay Peak years ago. one morning about 2AM i was riding up a trail on a full moon nite and saw one of these just sitting in the middle of the trail
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=nHxYfMHJ1ar
    wow - very nice owl - - LW
    Last edited by Papa D; 12-27-2012 at 09:28.

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by daddytwosticks View Post
    Ever hear one of those let loose in the middle of the night? Absolutely terrifying to be woken up to that screech!
    Yes on both counts. Sounded like James Brown was in top form right above the tarp!Nice Photo.

  10. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i used to be a snowmaker at Jay Peak years ago. one morning about 2AM i was riding up a trail on a full moon nite and saw one of these just sitting in the middle of the trail
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=nHxYfMHJ1ar
    Wow-beautiful! My father in law made me an wooden owl house to put in our backyard, last Christmas. Still need to put it on a tree...

  11. #11
    Hiker bigcranky's Avatar
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    We had a barred owl in our campsite at Old Orchard Shelter in May a few years ago. He spent about 30 minutes hopping around on the ground, and up to a tree, then back again -- all within an arm's length of us. He was hunting large flying beetles (Junebugs?) from the ground at dusk - he'd look upward for a few minutes, see one silhouetted against the sky, then launch himself up and grab a beetle, and go into the tree to eat it. Then jump back down to our campsite. Repeat. It was pretty awesome.

    Nice pic of the screech owl.
    Ken B
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    Our Long Trail journal

  12. #12
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    Had a Great Snowy Owl perched on our building all day when I was in grad school at Mich St University. East Lansing is not in their normal range.

  13. #13

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    Anyone else have any cool experiences with animals?

    One of my favorite topics.

    I've always wanted to experience a Snowy Owl.

    Two yrs ago I got to see my first two mountain lions in central Cali on the PCT between Chester and Quincy. That was a real treat. One didn't notice me(remember I don't normally use trekking poles) as it came out of dense woods to cross a dirt road less than 100 ft from me. It stopped in the middle of the road, stood sideways, and then gave me a head on view looking at me. It then yawned, bearing its teeth. Maybe it was showing off its fangs to me. Way cool. I just saw another one on the Outer Loop Trail In Big Bend NP two months ago at a watering hole waiting to ambush a meal. No, I never once considered myself that meal.

    Pronghorn Antelope are pretty cool too. I've seen them in Utah and Nevada. They don't run. They bounce. Boing Boing Boing and then they might trot like a Whitetail, Blacktail, or Mule Deer.

    Hummingbirds, some not much larger than a bumble bee, are some of my favorites. Lots of those on the PCT and around the Saufleys. Eagles are awesome too. Once you see the size of a Bald Eagle in flight up close you realize how large those birds are. I saw one in NJ on the AT and lots in Oregon, Washington and Florida on hikes. Lots of Golden eagles in the west. They can be common near power lines and satellite towers where they sometimes make their nests. Ospreys(Harriers) and Kingfishers are neat watching hunting too. Ospreys can hover in mid flight. I've seen hawks and falcons too. Watching Peregrine Falcons soaring along cliffs on the thermals in Vermont on the LT and Maine in Acadia NP and hunting smaller birds, is something not to be missed. I can see how an aeronautical engineer would study them to create faster and more manuverable fighter jets. I have had the pleasure, I guess, to experience Goshawks on several ocassions too. Most of the times it has been when I've gotten too close to them, unbeknownst to me! They are very territorial and fearless. I've had Goshawks dive bomb me from my blind side as I hiked down a trail often startling me beyond words. I've actually had them brush up aganst me, like on my shoulder or top of my head, from behind, as I hiked. I had one dislodge the hat off my head! Some of the jays, all the ones I've experienced, Mexican Blue, Gray, Eastern Blue, etc are cool too. They are very gregarious, sociable, and bold. All of those jays will eat out of my hand or off the top of my head!

    Mountain Goats, those very muscular totally white long bearded shaggy ones, are cool to watch too. Had a group of about ten including the patriarch male and two kids get within 50 ft of me in Colorado on the CDT near James Peak. Uhh, that was close enough!

    Sea otters, foxes, eagles, hawks, killer whales and colorful starfish on coastal hikes in Olympic NP were sooo awesome too.

    Watching, and sometimes swimming with, Spinner Dolphins, sea turtles(Green, Ridley, Loggerhead), and Hawaiian Monk Seals on the Ala Ka Ha Kai National Historic Trail on the Big Island was pretty awesome too.

    Reptiles(smakes, lizards) and even insects, like praying mantis, ants, and lady bugs, are cool to watch too. Have seen lots of them on hikes.

    Everglades(gators, waterfowl, birds, plants), Glacier(griizz, elk, moose, mountain goats, birds), Yellowstone(probably the best for mega fauna, wolves, bison, elk, moose, otter, wolverines, badgers, grizzz, waterfowl, raptors), Grand Canyon(cougars, condors, bears, coyotes, raptors, waterfowl), Isle Royale(fox, wolves, moose, deer), etc....Wildlife watching, the kind you don't do at the local shopping mall, is great! One of my favorite things to do. And, I haven't even been to Alaska or the Dakotas yet!

  14. #14

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    With all the mice that hang out at shelters, its a good place for an Owl to hunt. Every shelter should have a resident owl...
    Follow slogoen on Instagram.

  15. #15
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    Saw a unicorn on the trail once.

  16. #16
    Registered User Drybones's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Different Socks View Post
    Had a skunk in a Smokies shelter walk between the wall and myself in my bag, climb over my feet then back onto me and right up my bag as i lay inside it all the way to my head, jumped off and sniffed my pots then jumped back down.
    I'd rather take my chances with a bear anytime...you're one lucky hiker.

  17. #17

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    While section hiking the southernmost portion of NH only a few hours out of Hanover on a cloudy, drizzly day, I heard a flutter of wings overhead and saw a Barred Owl swoop in a circle and land on the branch about 20' directly above me.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lone Wolf View Post
    i used to be a snowmaker at Jay Peak years ago. one morning about 2AM i was riding up a trail on a full moon nite and saw one of these just sitting in the middle of the trail
    http://images.search.yahoo.com/image...mb=nHxYfMHJ1ar
    Very cool Wolf. I had the great fortune of seeing a snowy owl on a winter birding trip with the Audubon Society at Cape Henelopen, Delaware. We didn't expect to see; wasn't even on our leader's radar. But coincidentally, some he knew who wasn't with our group was there and motioned us over to look through his powerful scope. Fascinating!

  18. #18
    Registered User Capt Nat's Avatar
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    One night on the Florida Trail, a whip-or-whill parked in a tree over my hammock. I was up three times during the night throwing sticks up into the trees trying to run him off. Each time he returned. I was underway at first light...

  19. #19

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    Quote Originally Posted by Capt Nat View Post
    One night on the Florida Trail, a whip-or-whill parked in a tree over my hammock. I was up three times during the night throwing sticks up into the trees trying to run him off. Each time he returned. I was underway at first light...
    LOL! Yeah, did a week on the Buffalo National River. Night-1, whip-or-whill ALL FREAKING NIGHT! Well, it did shut up at 2:58 AM, when a storm was up the river. At 3:04 the storm went away from us and the whip-or-whill started back up. next few nights, none. But then another night one was doing it again. Probably the same one followed us down river. My canoe buddy said the next morning "you'd think they'd get a clue......keeping the entire forest up all night like that......"
    For a couple of bucks, get a weird haircut and waste your life away Bryan Adams....
    Hammock hangs are where you go into the woods to meet men you've only known on the internet so you can sit around a campfire to swap sewing tips and recipes. - sargevining on HF

  20. #20
    Registered User Old Hiker's Avatar
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    Learned how to levitate at midnight one time camping at Providence Canyon State Park - GA. Heard a LARGE bird land in the tree above my tent - thought "that's cool." 20 seconds after I got back to sleep, the owl - not sure which kind - let out an amazingly loud hoot. I swear I was 12 inches off the ground in my sleeping bag trying to run.

    This was back when I was younger, with better bladder control. Which was a GOOD thing.
    Old Hiker
    AT Hike 2012 - 497 Miles of 2184
    AT Thru Hiker - 29 FEB - 03 OCT 2016 2189.1 miles
    Just because my teeth are showing, does NOT mean I'm smiling.
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