Flammulated owl double hoot
Bruce Webb, was kind enough to show me the owling spots along Mosquito Ridge Road in Placer County, in May of 2007, not too long after I got my first recording equipment.
This was recorded on the night of May 28-29, 2007. I was lucky, beginner’s luck, to be able to get clear double hoots at the beginning of the recording. Excessive hiss was removed. Some handling noise is present.
Equipment: Telinga dish with twin science microphone and Marantz PMD671 digital recorder.
This is a recording with the same equipment of a different owl in the same general area. Again excessive hiss was removed.
This one provided me with my first lesson regarding the night woods. I had cruised the road and stopped every 100 feet or so and listened for flammulated owls calling to get an idea of how many there were and could hear one in the woods. There was no place to pull out, and it being late at night, I pulled over as far as I could and left the running lights on in case there was traffic, and entered the woods over a berm to my right. The owl was calling faintly ahead, and as I tried to get closer the bird retreated further into the woods, and of course, I followe blindly, excited about maybe getting a good recording. The moon provided some light, and the woods were somewhat open with cedars, douglas firs, and black oaks. I followed the owl along a circuitous path further into the woods and when it quit calling and I wanted to go back to the car I realized I had no clue where the road was. I am one of those people who stood in the wrong line when a sense of direction was handed out as part of our bag of tricks. My small flashlight was of no help, and concentrating now on trying to figure out where the road might be, and not on listening through the earphones, I started hearing all kinds of subtle and mysterious noises around me. I instantly got spooked, wondering what was trying to sneak up and pounce on me. Right now I can feel myself getting weak in the knees. It took me a while to control my rising panic, and I stopped, trying to assess my situation. The main thing is I kept aimlessly wandering trying to recognize anything I’d passed on the way in. I’ve since made it a habit to stop and look behind me to get an impression of how things should look when retracing my steps. The worst thing that could happen I told myself, is that I might freeze my ass off waiting through the night until I heard a passing car or truck to find out in which direction the road was. As I calmed down I realized that the moon had been almost directly ahead of me as I entered the woods and figured if I reversed this I should find my way out. Even though I recognized nothing on the way out, I did eventually find the road about 100 yards from where I had left the car and was mightily relieved. It wouldn’t hurt to slip the GPS into a pocket after setting a waypoint at the car.