Sunday, 4 January 2015

Snowy Owls, Ring-necked Pheasant. (20150101) Fourth annual New Years Day cruise with Jamie

Coming off a super day yesterday, we were pumped up at what we would uncover on this New Years Day. With a weather report that started out similar to yesterday we were expecting to see sun, but that never materialized. Two years ago we found 10 owls of three different species (Short-eared, Snowy, Great Horned). Take a look at that post here. Our search started off in the South East where Short-eared's are often found. Our primarily location didn't pan out for owls but we were pleasantly surprised by the appearance of a pair of rooster Ring-necks. They were both on this fence initially, but I only managed to catch one.
We watched as they worked around the structure for a while then they one after the other headed out into the fields.
Whatr a beautiful way to start the new year!  An hour later we found our fisrt Snowy Owl of the day. A nicely barred unit.
Just 15 minutes later we spotted our second owl. This bird was really quite white with very few markings.
20 minutes later we found Snowy 3, another beautifully barred bird. We were getting pretty disappointed with the lack of light. These birds just "pop" when they have nice sun on them.
We waited a full hour before spotting our next Snowy. This bird is on an antenae of a gas pumping station. You might not see it here but the wether took a decided turn for the worse and we were now dealing with heavy snow as well.
Not only was the weather getting us down we were not finding anything else to shoot. Usually the areas where we passed through we would find Larks, Buntings, Redpolls, GHO's and some Grey Partridge. Today it was nothing.
Our fifth bird was another barred unit.
10 minutes later we found white bird number 6, but we didn't get any deent images. Bird 7 just looked like a bit of a runt. Both Jamie and I were commenting on how it looked "small". It was quite a distance off, but sat beautifully for us. Here he stretched his neck and looked at something across the highway.
I will lay claim to the "spot of the day" with bird 8. I thought I spotted something so Jamie stopped and I took a shot. There was an owl. When Jamie checked, there was no owl. So I took another shot and there was the owl. Can you find it?
Our next couple of birds wre uneventful. We then fell into Pheasant land. We found a couple of Roosters on a yard front but didn't get any images. This next bird was a long way off, so we were able to capture a couple of snaps.
Just up the road we found these three pheasant hens, but they spooked  pretty easily.
Not 300 yards up the road we found even more hens feeding on a lawn. Most of them vacated the area early. This one hen provided us with a shooting opportunity. I like the lean in this shot.
I will wreap this New Year's post off with a wing shot of our final Snowy of the day. While I would have liked to offer you a little more variety, we shot what we saw, and we saw Snowys and Pheasants.
Happy New Year! Make certain you get some wild in your life this year. It will leave you healthier, happier and wealthier!

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