It is said that the early bird always gets the worm but the second mouse gets the cheese.
I know I didn’t want to be the worm nor did I want to be the first mouse. I did know that I wanted to get good looks at a great gray owl and Dickcissel and I where going to do our damnedest.
This mission involved an early start and a three hour road trip to the western flank of the Sierra Nevada Mountains to a meadow with a high concentration of great grays.
About three hours later we where near the western entrance to Yosemite National Park walking the meadow trying to find a large owl roosting in the trees, or if we were really lucky we might see a great gray hunting in the daylight.
But owling, even in ideal circumstances, does not always produce an owl. Owls always seem to maintain their air of mystery and elusiveness. We are creatures of the day and owl are active in darkness and we feel lucky just to see a motionless roosting owl or hear their nighttime calls. But the night, the night of nature, is really not our realm.
While we did not find an owl we had a lovely morning ramble through a Sierrian meadow.
Corvidsketcher scanning the trees across the meadow for any unusual shapes. He found none.
After the morning search we set up camp chairs under shady pines with the persistent call of mountain chickadee as our lunch soundtrack.
We had one last little treasure on our way out of the meadow, a bit of unexpectedness that put smiles on our faces. A lone rock wren singing away amongst the woodpiles. Like this wren’s name implies, it is found in close proximity to rocks but there were no large rocks in sight. We were looking for the great gray owl that turned into a great gray ghost but we saw a small, diminutive “wood” wren instead and this was just fine with us.