We have seen Pygmy Owls all around our neighborhood, but not here. Until today. I hiked down to the creek and was looking across the cold, wild water at an oddly colored lump by some logs on the far bank. The lump turned out to be a dead salmon.
I sat there wondering if it was from one of the Grand Ronde tribal "fish flings" where they throw milked out salmon into the creek upstream from us to replenish nutrients, or if it was a spawned out salmon that died naturally in Agency Creek. A tiny kinglet interrupted my reverie as it flew across and landed in a tree near me. I had no binoculars with me but did have my camera so tried to get a photo of the rapidly moving little bird. I gave up and put my camera down, noticing then an odd lump on a branch in that tree. I used my camera to zoom in closer to see what it might be.
A little closer and the lump turned into a Pygmy Owl. See it?
Here it is, looking at me.
I took many photos. In most of them, it looked like a lump.
Sometimes, a very fluffy lump.
I checked the photos I had taken and noticed that part of the owl was blurry in them so started to take more... at which point the owl had given up finding lunch, apparently, and flew off. I saw it fly and watched it go but have no idea if it kept going or landed somewhere. It simply vanished. If I had not taken these photos, I would have thought I'd imagined the whole thing.
What a thrilling way to get farm bird #150!