This is where I started- within the vicinity of my theoretical big owl. The big murder of crows was there; that is a good start. Being around dawn-ish time however, the raucous birds dispersed within half an hour, perhaps implying my nocturnal friend either fell asleep in a huff or flew away for a less noisy and more welcoming environment (if there even is an environment that welcomes oversized, silent, essentially unrivalled killing machines…?).
I now can see a distinct, GHO-likely trend. The crows are noisy at the time I know owls like to come back to a nice spot to go to bed, thus a time they are most easily bothered; the crow activity is extremely centralized around this stand of large, sheltering pine trees- the crows all seem to circle the trunks of the pines that are growing most close together. GHO’s love pine tree trunks, and rarely will nap far from the center. I have noted the crows are never “bothering” a deciduous tree, where barred owls could be more likely found (than GHO). I heard a few possible “whoos”the first day owling in response to screech owl calls, which is common with the GHOs. I played barred too around then, so I wasn’t sure (the sounds I heard were very muted and did not complete any full call, but were unique owl-ish sounds nonetheless).
Here we have two common sights: red, “spear-like” Beech buds and the lingering brittle beech leaves. These are everywhere on my way into my sit spot.
Here we have some white pines. These are the only species of pine I could find around my sit spot…
Hemlocks! Look at the “crunchy” bark. These are everywhere…
Red oaks. Look at the deep cracks exhibiting an almost reddish color…..
…And some red oak leaves. Pointy, “fire-flame tipped” leaves. They are also reddish, which helps a bit.
What could these be? White oaks! These have this random pattern to the nubby bark, and have a “whitish green” lichen or fungus on it more often than not. The tree to the right is the best non-greenish bark I could find.
The obligatory white oak leaf, in with some beech leaves. these do not seem to be nearly as prevalent as the red oak leaves in terms of what is currently still on the ground. This is the only leaf I could find.
To conclude, here we have a striped maple and a red maple. I assure you: both maples are well into adulthood! Despite one being green and thin and the other looking old and broken, this is in fact “how they do”. Distinct barks, but also easy with the “opposite” branching pattern (not shown). In addition, the red maples are not only opposite branches but branch in a neon crimson color. This helps I.D. quite a bit.