Nigel Marven, a visiting British birder, and I went up on the Uncompahgre to see if we could find any Flammulated Owls, one of his most wanted birds in the area. We went to the location that Andrea Robinsong, Dennis Garrison and I discovered in May on the spring bird count near Jack's Canyon on the Uncompahgre Plateau. We got there about twenty minutes before dark in order to get to the location and scope out the habitat (the spot is about a quarter mile off the main road), and I played a tape just after the sun set in hopes that an 'early riser' would at least call a few times. Lo and behold, one started up immediately, albeit quietly. At first I did not even recognize it as a Flamm - the call was quite a bit higher pitched than the tape, but it soon did the unmistakeable 'who-dip-who' call. The bird was flying to the trees around us, and was soon joined by a second bird that called several times. At first, we walked around a little to try for visuals, but soon realized the softness of the calls might have been attributed to the bird's closeness as well. I shined a light in a nearby tree and saw the Flamm fly a few times until, amazingly, it landed on a branch about ten feet away in the open and posed for the flashlight for approximately twenty to thirty seconds. It was breathtaking. We were able to get a few other looks at the bird after this, but none as spectacular. All of these observations occured before 9:20 on July 31.
While we were watching the owl, I noticed a nest box that was previously unknown to me. Would Flamms be nesting this late in the year? And if so, what stage should they be in? I did not check the box as we figured we had bothered the birds enough for one evening.
Soon to be from East Baton Rouge Parish, LA