The Deep Black Eyes of My Favorite Owl

Mid-December. A cold and partly cloudy day.  Time to return to Sauvie Island a few miles northwest of home. I drove to the Virginia Lake Trailhead and did the easy 2 ½ mile loop twice. It’s an interesting hike that travels around marshy, wildlife-rich Virginia Lake. A side trail visits Multnomah Channel where anglers try their luck in the Columbia River backwater.

Luck was with me. A barred owl was sitting on a branch in an alder tree close to the trail. They are the bigger cousins of the infamous spotted owl. Sometimes they interbreed with their smaller cousins, but most of the time they kill and eat them. I suppose the good news is that they may eliminate the use of the spotted owl as an impediment to the efficient and effective management of public forest land.

The lake was frozen for the most part, providing an interesting display of nutrias, geese and ducks slipping and sliding on the ice. And, along the trail were great blue herons and many small birds of many species. A fun afternoon indeed.

Barred Owl

A deserted rusting hulk along the Multnomah Channel

Cassin’s Vireo?

A fisherman trying his luck on the Multnomah Channel

Great Blue Heron

Nutria on the frozen ice of Virginia Lake

Patterns in the frosted leaves

Song Sparrow

Late afternoon clouds

Categories: Portland Area HikesTags: , , ,


  1. Great picture of the owl, John!

  2. I love the owl, and the great blue heron.

    Not so much the nutria. Menances they are I hear.

  3. Fantastic photos! The owl is awesome.

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