Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

You Never Know What or Whoooo

. . . you'll encounter on the trail.

When I took Maggie and Hubert for a run on the farm this morning, I figured we'd find some downed trees from the recent rains and high winds. Sure enough, there was another tree snapped off and blocking the bottom trail.

But before we walked this bottom trail, we tried to go down the main trail—our usual route. But something was beside the trail. Do you see it?

It made the dogs skid to a halt. They hadn't encountered anything like this before.

Fortunately, they didn't attack. Maggie even left it when I gave the command, "Leave it!"

Yes, Maggie's tail is that muddy!

The hair stood up on Hubert's shoulders and his tail bushed up. The critter bushed up, too. It was a stand-off.

When Hubert realized that Maggie wasn't backing him up, he decided to "leave it," too.

The owl was probably glad the dogs left. I was glad, too. That owl could have done some serious damage to the dogs if it had a mind to.

The dogs and I took an alternate route to the bottom. Later, I heard many crows squawking on the hill. I figured they had chased the owl away, so we came up the trail. The owl, however, had moved about fifty feet down the trail, but it let us pass.

Moments later, I saw another owl fly though the woods and land on a high branch. Unfortunately, my camera batteries were dead, so I couldn't get a picture. When that owl left the tree, the crows started squawking again.

This was the first time I ever saw two owls on the same day—and the only time I've ever seen an owl up close and personal in the wild.



Blogger CountryDew said...

Gosh. That's very unusual to see them like that. I wonder what it means? There must be some folklore about it. "If you see an owl in daylight your mother-in-law is coming to visit" or something.

7:18 PM  
Blogger Debi Kelly Van Cleave said...

Wow! You know, the first picture of the creature close up looks kind of like a raccoon mongoose type of thing cross. Then when I scrolled down I saw it was an owl. Still quite shocking, on the ground like that. I wonder if it was hurt and it's mate was waiting for it? Poor thing, I hope he's okay. And what luck, getting a picture of him!

10:42 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

It was one weird-looking owl. I can't figure out what kind it is. It doesn't match the pictures for the four owl species commonly found in Virginia.

This owl was right beside the main horse trail down to the creek. Can you imagine a horse's reaction to an owl who flaps his wings?

Since the owl moved fifty feet down the trail, it had to be mobile.

As for the folklore, seeing an owl in the daytime portends bad luck. (And I saw TWO different kinds of owls Sunday!)

11:12 PM  
Blogger Becky Mushko said...

I later learned that the owl on the ground was a young great horned owl—most likely the offspring of the one I saw flying overhead.

9:36 AM  

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