Tis the season to be "OWLY"! I've had a few species sightings the last month and a bit, but the one earlier this week is the best by far because it was a total surprise.
As December arrived, I began my scoping for Snowy Owls on my drive home from work at night. Every year through the winter I am treated to sporadic sights of Snowys along the stretch of the 401 that I drive. On the night of December 4th I noticed a large dark bird atop a hydro pole and at first I thought it was a heavily barred Snowy. I pull the truck over for a better view and to my surprise and delight it was a Great Horned Owl! I should note I was not even on the 401 yet. I don't advise anyone stopping their vehicle on a major highway to view any wildlife.
I had my camera with me this night and tried for a couple record shots. I used the street lamps as my light source. I tweaked my camera's manual settings and then with a little editing at home on the computer, I managed to get this to share with whoever may be reading this blog.
I left the bird after a few minutes and continued my drive home. I ended up spotting a Snowy Owl a few kilometres down the road but there was no way I could stop anywhere for a night shot.
I recently saw a Snowy Owl in a lake park. A nice day time view. This photo is heavily cropped as it was on a dock out in the marina.
I've also spotted a few Long-eared Owls this fall.
I had a Screech Owl one evening about a month ago. I should look back and see if I shared him or not in a previous blog.
After the other evening's Great Horned and Snowy Owl sightings, I was quite tempted to go for a little Screech Owl hunt locally. If it wasn't raining, I just might have. An Owl hat trick would have been epic!
Oh, there was a Northern Saw-whet Owl as well. I had a private invite to see this sweet little bird, far from public eye. I chose not to share on social media since these birds gather a lot of interest. It's always nice to see them and hopefully I spot one again through the rapidly approaching winter, especially with Angie since these Owls make her giggle and snort with joy.
I've also encountered a couple Short-eared Owls. Unfortunately it was much too dark to get a photo of the two birds flying about a field. I have not been able to relocate them since, so they probably have moved on.
This is a good start to the season and I really hope to spot a few more species in the coming months. I'd love to get a decent photograph of a Short-eared Owl one day too. That's one Owl I don't feel I have gotten a photo of that I really like. While it's never about the photos with me as I love the thrill of finding them on my own or with friends; getting a good photo once in a while sure doesn't hurt.
I encourage you to brave the chilly days ahead and just go for a walk, take paths less traveled, listen to the other birds and you might find an Owl on your own.
P.S. this was not one of my longer blogs, and if you happen to be one of the few who read them right to the end and would like a little more to read, please check out Angie's latest blog about our trip to The Donkey Sanctuary of Canada in Guelph, Ontario.