I had a sandwich for lunch today, so decided to do something I haven’t done for a few months and check the back end of Prospect Hill (it’s a bit too far if I can’t eat as I walk). The walk in was pretty dull with just a couple titmice and a junco or two. I took the steep stairs up and headed to Little Prospect. It was equally quiet there and a bit hazy so scanning the sky didn’t reveal anything.
I started back downhill and figured I’d have time to check the wet areas way in the back. But passing the Summer House, I heard a couple screeching jays and saw a flash of something bigger. Moving closer, I quickly got on the bird and had a great look at a Barred Owl!
Watching for a couple minutes, the jays chased it back a couple trees deeper into the woods, but still a completely unobstructed view. I spent a couple minutes watching it (and it was clearly watching me) as several people passed by completely ignoring it (and me). I started to head out but decided that I should probably give my parents a call. They decided to run right over and I decided it was easier to wait by the bird than explain where it was.
They came fairly quickly but while waiting a bunch of other birds found the owl. The ones that came the closest to it were nuthatches but there were plenty of chickadees and titmice as well. The owl pretty much ignored these (as it had ignored the jays except for when a jay buzzed right at its head). More people walked by and no one bothered to look. Once my parents arrived, I pointed, made sure they followed where I was pointing and raced back down the hill and back to work (surprisingly only about 15 minutes longer than I normally take).
Not that it was unexpected, but it was a new one for me in Waltham (#180!) and I’m not aware of any other records at Prospect Hill.