Best owls, tea and leafy greens

Win an opportunity to hang out with the cutest owls in the world; also, check out a couple of Christine’s favorite good-for-you food items

The cutest owls on the planet.

The cutest owls on the planet.

Whooo wants to win a birding trip?
Dawn Garcia, conservation director of the Altacal Audubon Society, advised me that the Northern saw-whet owl migration season is about to start. Every fall—this will be the eighth—Garcia and fellow bird-banders spend nights under the stars out at the Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve (BCCER) netting, banding and taking stats on the cutest little owls on the planet (pictured) as they fly south via the Pacific Flyway.

And, as part of a fundraiser for Altacal’s saw-whet project, a raffle will be held in which the prizes are a choice between “two unique adventures … for 4 lucky winners and 4 lucky guests.” The two adventures? Winners will choose between a nighttime saw-whet netting/banding excursion or a diurnal saw-whet tracking trip.

“Tune in to the forest night life under the Milky Way, listening to owls—hooting Great Horned, trilling Western Screech and tooting Saw-whets, and the sounds of other nocturnal critters,” writes Garcia of the nocturnal trip. “A specific date between October 30 and November 30, 2012, will be arranged with the raffle winners as the season approaches.”

The prettiest drink in town—Naked Lounge’s Bowl of Soul.

photo by christine g.k. lapado-breglia

As for the daytime trip, winners and their guests will join birder Julie Shaw as she tracks radio-marked owls on the BCCER. “Enjoy beautiful fall foliage and avian species such as red-tailed hawks, California quail, wild turkey, sparrows, hermit and varied thrushes, American dippers and possible Western screech/Northern Pygmy owls while tracking radio-marker saw-whet owls,” said Garcia. Bobcats, mule deer and bears may also be spotted. Winners will choose a date in November or December.

Raffle tickets are $3 each or two for $5, and may be purchased at Altacal’s free “Seabirds of Midway and the Remote Northwestern Hawaiian Islands” presentation at the Chico Creek Nature Center (1968 East Eighth St., 891-4671) on Oct. 15, 6 :30 p.m., or by contacting Garcia at Winners will be chosen Oct. 27.

A couple more “Best of”s…
In addition to all of the CN&R’s fine readers’ and editors’ picks in this issue, there are a couple more most excellent locally made food items that I want to give a shout out to.

My award for Prettiest, Most Heartwarming Drink goes to the Bowl of Soul (pictured) made by the Naked Lounge Tea & Coffeehouse (118 West Second St., 895-0676). Naked Lounge’s standard version of the Bowl of Soul is a divinely delish concoction made with chamomile tea, steamed soy milk and honey. More often than not, though, I opt to substitute NL’s top-notch, loose-leaf Earl Grey tea for the chamomile—just as smooth and yummy but with a delectable aroma and a teensy kick of caffeine.

In the category of Best Way to Get Your Daily Intake of Leafy-Green Veggies, the house-made ginger-sesame kale-slaw at Chico Natural Foods Cooperative (818 Main St., 891-1713) is my winner. I mean, this scrumptious, vitamin-packed salad is so good that even if you think you hate kale or leafy greens in general, a bite of it may indeed change your mind.

“Take care of your body. It’s the only place you have to live.—Jim Rohn