I was walking on my small tree farm outside of Oregon City and spotted an owl in a big leaf maple tree. He had long stripes down his chest, about 12 to 14" tall and 6" wide. Possibly a barred owl? First time I have seen an owl on my property in 34 years. Come to think of it, the rabbit and squirrel population has been down recently. What rare birds or animals have you seen on public or private land during your hiking/climbing adventures.
I can still remember the first sight I had of a Great Horned Owl, which was in the Colorado Rockies when I was 17. It was a spectacular bird, but unfortunately I wasn't able to get a photo. Not super rare, perhaps, but very memorable.
The rarest animal I've seen so far was not in the woods but in the water - a species of previously undescribed sea slug (Okenia Felis) that some friends and I discovered in the water off Pt. Lobos State Park in California. We got a permit to collect one and the California Academy of Sciences nudibranch specialist confirmed it was a new species. It's pretty amazing to me that there are still new animals to discover in the world.
Thanks for sharing JHH60. My owl picture was taken with cell phone and so I was limited by a regular camera closeup angle. I took the picture standing within 15 or 20 feet from the owl. The owl did not seem fearful at all of presence; unlike most other birds or animals as a human approaches. It sat on the branch for at least 20 minutes and the only movement was infrequent rotation of the head. I continued to work in the area, but missed the point when the owl took up flight. Pretty cool!