Monday, February 16, 2009

Happy hoots

We're feeling a bit euphoric here Beyond Ester. Last night about ten o'clock, we heard a pair of Great Horned Owls! We are so happy to hear them! The young dog, Borealys, did not know what to make of the hoots that seemed to emanate just from the edge of the yard. Ursa, our elder dog, seemed to know that we were hearing echoes among the trees and the hills, and that's why owls seemed to be everywhere. The pair was down in the valley, to the southwest of our cabin, where the land flattens out to tundra and stubby, sporadic black spruce. They overtalked each other--a much higher and sloppier hoot overlaying a lower, carefully orchestrated one. A younger owl, perhaps, just learning its language? An eager mate, urging let's get it on? Did the thrill of above-zero weather and the inevitable approach of spring shape their hoots? Or the excitement of the hunt, perhaps. There's a vole! And another one! Forget the voles! Look, there's an Arctic Hare! Who hoo HOO hoo hoo! Who hoo hoo hoo hoo! Welcome back, owls!

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