Today was my last "extra" day off due to my shift and I took full advantage of it despite the crappy weather conditions. For the last 2 years I've been working a 4 day work week from Tuesday to Friday, allowing me Mondays free to go mess around and do whatever I wish. And with long weekends like Family Day, I end up getting the Tuesday off too!
So, "what to do?" I asked myself after I kissed Angie goodbye for the day. Having another look out the front door, wishing the rain had stopped from my last look 10 minutes earlier (which it hadn't). I said "screw it" and got dressed, grabbed the binoculars and camera, and hit the road.
As I rolled along the QEW, I'm shaking my head... and not to Bon Scott belting out "Squealer" but the fact that I must be crazy to go out with two things against me, bad weather and morning traffic. But I continued. I had a number of places in mind to check out in hopes of some cool sightings of birds.
My first stop was my best of the morning out.
Snowy Owl reports are far less this winter compared to last winter and the irruption. But a few are in decent range of Toronto. I decided to check one out west of us instead of our usual trips north. And luck came to me with this bird being in very close range from the road. And as I put the truck in park and rolled down the passenger window, the Snowy up and flies, which most of us are used to. Only this Snowy does not fly away, but flies closer to me, like 30 ft behind my truck.
He's sitting there on the side of the road, looking around. And I sneak out the door of the GMC, using it as a bird blind and wind breaker to get a couple photos in and a really good look at him with my bins. I'd never seen one that close before! How many out there have had an Owl come to them instead of flying away?
Here is this beautiful Owl and just me. What a ZEN moment! We had nearly 10 minutes together before some other vehicles came around to see the bird. By this time I was already back inside the truck and enjoying the view through the passenger window. And I was happy to see the Owl leave the side of the road and head back out to the field.
The wind blew hard and the rain came in but I was lost in the moment with this majestic bird. A few big trucks roared past me on this back road, making me realize the world was awake now and sitting on the side of the road wasn't a great idea (little room to pull over). I didn't have intention on staying much longer anyway. So I left. No surprise nobody else got out of their vehicles or stayed long either.
Unfortunately all my other destinations weren't as spectacular as this one. It was kinda like I cashed in all my birding chips with this guy, and I was okay with that.
March and Spring are just around the corner. If you can make the time, get out there and look for a Snowy Owl before they are gone again until November or December... and I just proved that you don't need to wait for a nice day to do so.