Saturday, 21 December 2013

Short Earred, Great Horned and Snowy Owls (20131219) A great afternoon of Owling

With a solid morning of great sightings behind us and our lunch re-fueling our tanks we were all set for an interesting afternoon of Owling.  Our first sighting was a Snowy on a single line pole on an unplowed road. We couldn't get anywhere close to it so we have no shots. Within a mile we found two more Snowy's that were on long distance fence posts.  Things were looking great. Our next spot was a scene that all owl hunters want to find, a GHO in an opening in a building. I think that this is this is the first shot of this nature since my very first Blog post.
After we got our shots and were returning to the truck this bird flew from one window to a second in another old grainery in the area. So it seems that it never rains it pours :)  Just up the road and around the corner we found our fourth Snowy Owl of the day, and it was close and cooperative.  Check out the frost on the bottom of the cross bar and the on the wires. It was still pretty cold outside.
Kerri next spotted our next owl, the third different specie for the day, a Short Earred on a fence post. As we closed the distance on it the owl flushed.  We drove into an area where we thought the owl may have landed. We found it again and it was holding much better this time. Due to the sun location we opted to drive by and bird just jumpedover to another post. We went up the road and turned around and came back slowly and easy and it held while we pulled up right beside and took some shots.
These are very comical birds as they look around and observe their surroundings. They seem to be just a tad hyper as they look around.
While reviewing these shot to prepare the blog I couldn't help bu think that Lucas' character designer used these fabulous creatures as inspiration for the Ewoks :)
We spent about four minutes with this owl and were able to sneak away without flushing this bird again with some great shots. The Snowy show continued as we chalked up number 5, another single line pole bird.
Snowy number 6 was a litle lighter barred. The day was going really really well. The common consensus that we would not be getting any Snowy's this year is proving to be a misconception thankfully.
We next came upon another Short Earred, then two and we believe actually a third. It was starting to get late and the sun was disapearing. This shot was taking after 4:00 p.m. and the birds were quite a distance off, but they were definitely hunting.
I know that Kerri took som ebetter images than I, perhaps she will send me a shot or two of better quality.
We did still find Snowy's here and there, like Number 7 here.
We found another one or two Snowy's and another GHO to close out the evening. so it was record day for me and Kerri as I am not certain if our final total was 13 or 14 owls. This is outstanding considering we find our first until after noon:)   Calgary in the winter, the colours may disappear but there si always wildlife around.  Let me show you when you are in town.

From Kerri: "The Short-eared owl is one of my favourite bird species. I've only had the opportunity to see them twice before in the wild, so I was very happy to see and photograph three or four on my tour with Turbo on Dec 19. 
It was a cold day, so if you look close you can see the frost around the eyes. We came across these two (or maybe three) owls at the end of great wildlife viewing day. 
The light was fading so we didn't have much time, but still had a chance to watch them hunt for a good  10 minutes. It was a great experience and a nice early Christmas present for me."
You can see more of Kerri's great work at her website: 

No comments:

Post a Comment