I went to a lecture at Hartley about climate change in the upper midwest tonight. The presentation itself was kind of disappointing--lots of statistics without stories, the speaker did a lot of equivocating and fence-sitting, and I'm fairly certain I was the only one that arrived by some means other than personal vehicle, and most of the vehicles in the parking lot were rather hulking, too--but before and after made up for it.
Walking from the bus stop on Woodland Avenue down the long driveway to the Nature Center, I heard an owl several times, who, who WHO who, who-who. I had to look it up once I came home, and I am fairly certain it was a Great Horned Owl. According to "Birds of Minnesota and Wisconsin" they would be courting now, and the females may start incubating eggs by the end of this month.
After the presentation I had about 25 minutes until the next bus, so I went back into the woods for a while to listen for more owls. No luck there, but I did hear something barking from the pond/Rock Knob area. Sounded too wild to be a dog, and too yappy to be a coyote or wolf (although wolves have been anecdotally reported a bit further east in town, out in Lakeside, and one could conceivably wander into Hartley, and I was kind of hoping it was one because that would be cool). But I'm pretty sure it was a fox, calling several times from multiple locations, b-bar bar. I have seen foxes a couple of times in town, but this is the first time I've heard one bark. This site has some wav files to listen to, if you're interested.
And of course I wouldn't have heard the fox or the owl if I hadn't taken the bus--you wouldn't have been able to hear either of them from the parking lot.