Around four, while I was hauling in wood to feed the increasingly voracious appetite of the basement stove—a cold wave is starting to make its presence felt—I heard something low and familiar coming up the hill from the vicinity of the millpond. When I paused my labors to engage in what scholars might call "close listening," I had to smile: the local Great Horned Owls were engaging in a battle of the bands. I grabbed the Sigma supertelephoto, drove downhill for a better look, and started to scan the trees on the ridge from whence, somewhere, the hoots were emanating. I hooted, the GHOs hooted back, and, happily for me, one of the males took the bait and left the safety of the forest. It perched near the top of an oak, and while neither the fading light nor my inability to hold the heavy lens steady enough made for a sharp image, you can at least identify the bird by its unmistakable ear tufts. The notes from the GHO hootenanny were also diagnostic, but I can't put sound into this blog.