Hello! Interesting title, eh? Now what could that be about?
No, it's not this...
And it's not this either. I have had my 2 minutes of fame on the TV but not here.
Would you believe it's about an Owl? I've blogged about her before. Last year I finally gave her a name after seeing her off/on since August 2012. I named her Grace. Only because I see it as a blessing to have such a bird near our house; she graces me with her presence on occasion.
If and when I do spot her, it's only between the Spring and early Autumn season. Where does she go in the Winter? Probably deeper into the woods, in the thicker conifers for shelter. She's not exactly a sure thing to spot during the warmer months either but this is the time I do see her, and usually in the same tree.
Seeing her on this day, June 1st, 2016 was my first sighting in a long time. Last time was early October 2015. It feels like a long time but not almost 9 months.
I believe sometimes things happen for a reason. How things played out with this Owl encounter was like a series of mini unrelated events that somehow made this happen.
We've been in home renovation hell for about 2 months now. Just one little thing after another, small set backs, annoyances but slowly things are coming together. One good thing about it, even though it's draining our bank account and our spirit at times, it's giving me a reminder that I can do stuff, things I used to do before and I'm learning about other things. It's given me strength and determination. Strength to move our washing machine and dryer about the basement on my own. Determination to get this over and done with so we can enjoy the basement as well as the summer out back. This June 1st morning I spent some time down there after some new flooring was installed. An hour plus and I called it a day as I really wanted to get out for a little wildlife moment before work and I also wanted to check in on our Peregrine Falcon family (the kids will be flying soon).
During my work at home, I'm hearing from Angie about a TTC nightmare on the subway line. A small fire at one of the stations totally messed things up for thousands of morning commuters. After about 2 hours of her at the station she turned around and returned back home. I stayed here, waiting for her arrival.
She gets home and less than 45 minutes later service resumes on the subway line. I offer to drive her to the subway since I wanted to check on the Falcons. Away we go.
I arrive on site at Islington and Bloor, pay for my parking and hang out on the side of the street. I see Lucky (adult male) flying back and forth a couple times. I can see one of the kids sitting on the edge of the ledge, looking out to the big world in front of him. Soon he will be taking his first flights and hopefully I am there for him in this critical moment. I should find some of my old Falcon blogs to attach here which explain more about the watch. I can see mom, O'Connor, sitting on top of the webcam. I can't see the rest of the kids (there are 4 total) and I suspect they are hanging out underneath the webcam where mom is.
It's a very quiet stay with the birds.
I paid for 75 minutes of parking. I was ready to leave after 30 because nothing was going on. I found the traffic to be quite busy this morning and it wasn't very relaxing having it all around me, watching people drive in circles looking for parking, delivery trucks double parking, their exhaust stinking up the street, the engine noises drowning out any bird calls, etc. But I paid for this amount of time and thought best to just sit it out and maybe something will come of this.
Not too long after a red Toyota convertible comes up the road, it slows down, the window rolls down and I see it's an old friend from high school. Her name is Jacqui. Thanks to the powers of Facebook many of us have sort of reunited after all these years. Jacqui is almost a neighbour of ours, the Humber River separates her 'hood from ours. We have a short conversation. She knows I'm down there about the birds like I am every year around this time. She's heading for some appointment in the area and is looking for a parking spot. I offer to give up my spot. I think she said "no" at first, that it was alright, she would try another round of the area. I assured her it was okay, that nothing was going on with the birds and I was thinking about leaving anyway. But I think she did another tour of the streets before that happened. A number of cars had passed me by, people giving me either dirty or hopeful looks as I lingered about my truck, wishing I was leaving. Jacqui comes around again and I give up my spot. We chat for a moment about the birds, what's going on this year up there and said "goodbye".
I'm heading home now. I had it in my head to give myself a certain amount of time to be out before going home and getting ready for work. I look at the clock, I still have some time left. I thought maybe I should just go home and get things done at a slower pace. I'm around the corner from our house and decided to stop in a nearby park I frequent. Boy am I so glad I did!
I'm hearing lots of bird calls. There are a number of Chimney Swifts flying over the parking area. I tune into some Blue Jays calling steadily in the distance. It wasn't a stress call, just steady squawking. I decided to head over in that direction and investigate. Boy am I so glad I did! Didn't I just say that in the last paragraph?
Here is what I saw...
While I knew it was a Great Horned Owl. I was even more excited that it was the return of Grace. How do I know? I just do.
As you may have noticed in the photos so far, she was not having a very peaceful morning as 4 Blue Jays harassed her non-stop. They screamed at her steadily and each one took a turn swooping at her head. Poor Grace. She wasn't bothering anyone.
No rest for this big Owl.
2 Jays giving her some grief.
She's not yawning here.
It was wonderful to see her again after almost 9 months. I won't deny there was some excitement to seeing the action. I did feel bad for her though. She just wanted to sleep.
Despite the Jays bugging her to no end, my presence did not go by unnoticed.
I meant no harm unlike the Jays. I'm down on the ground and can only watch from a distance.
The whole ordeal lasted maybe 5 minutes. I watched Grace take flight and disappear through the trees. Unfortunately the Jays were not done with her yet. But I was. I did not follow the fray.
So if there was no TTC delay, no Angie coming home and delaying my outing, no Jacqui showing up in the area where I was parked watching the Falcons; would this have happened? If I stayed at the Falcon site until my time ran out, and even if I decided to go peek in that park after that time, I would have missed all of this. Maybe I would have tuned in to the Jays, but they were much deeper in the woods now and I probably would have ignored it due to time restraints.
Okay, how about one last oddity regarding this?
In the near 4 years I have only ever seen Grace in this tree twice. June 1st 2016 and June 1st 2015. I kid you not! Thanks to Facebook memories, I got the reminder. I remember how excited I was to see her that morning as she actually had a kill in her talons. It was something very different than my every other time of her just snoozing high in another pine tree nearby.
Welcome back Grace! I see I've just given the park a new name too.
Here is a very short video of the action from the moment, click here.