I met Ian at 0530 since he had expressed interest in looking for some owls like BARN (he was interested in seeing the North American version), WESTERN SCREECH, and lastly--but most importantly--SPOTTED. We met up at my traditional meeting spot in north Arcata and took a quick trip through the Arcata Bottoms to look for Barn Owls, which we found one and got nice looks on the "V Street Loop," one of the most popular birding locations in the Arcata Bottoms. We then headed to a location in Arcata where I've had Screech-Owl and tried various call types but couldn't coax one out but did have a pair of GREAT HORNED OWLS duetting in the background while trying for it. We also dipped on SPOTTED in the nearest location where I know they occur. No calls were played for this species as this location as it does get some birding pressure since it is the closest known location where Spotted is found. We did have a "light" dawn chorus at the Spotted location with some VARIED THRUSHES doing some brief 1/2 songs and AMERICAN ROBINS flying overhead from their night roost.
After picking up Ian's wife Vic from the Best Western in Arcata we headed east to Maple Creek Rd. where RUFFED GROUSE has been seen lately. We drove the road to about 13 miles in and struck out on this round for the grouse and decided to move on to Blue Lake to look for a NORTHERN SHRIKE that was wintering along the Mad River and ranged over a mile along different areas along river so was difficult to find. To top it off this bird hadn't been reported since 25 January! Tough searching for the bird ensued, which we never found but we did enjoy the other birds that were seen along the way, like this immature (2nd year) BALD EAGLE below: