Monday, 2 February 2015

Northern Hawk owl, Wild Horses (20150124) An All day trip in search of wild horses.

Jamie, Kerri and I headed into wild horse country with the hopes of doing better than we wout there recently with Tim. We started the morning with a flighty Great Grey Owl. No shots achieved. Next up was a coyote and then three moose, a pair fo cows and what I think may have been bull that had dropped its antlers. We briefly spotted a single Black horse, but it bolted for some reason and none of us managed a decent shot.
We took a sideroad that we thought might hold a horse or two but stopped as Jamie thought he mightr have seen a Pine Marten. During our investigation I only found this well hidden squirrel.
Then I am afraid we found the high-light of the day, a Northern Hawk Owl. The local Galgary birders had been posting images of a few around the area but now one had mentioned this particular bird yet. It was a very long distance spot. Here is a shot @ 900mm equivalent of the bird in the top of the tree.
We were unable to get much closer, here is a heavily cropped image of this beautiful raptor.
Our next sighting was anothr wild horse. This fella was well out into the open and didn't seemed bothered by our presence at all.
It wasn't until he turned that we were able to see his hind leg injury.
Next up was a group of about 7 horses. We got out of the truck and did a little stalk. This is likely the "stockiest" of the wild's that I have seen. The feet on this fellow remind me of the draught horses.
This was one of his herd.
We got shutout of one of my favourite side roads. We did find this Ruffed Grouse. It was a very dark situation.
We then found three separate herds. Here is a pair from the largest herd I have found yet.
This is the large stallion that had built his herd up to 14 individuals. The other two herds that we could see from this area were only 5 and 6 members. This is a massive stallion. Just take a look at the size of those front legs.
On our way home we found another couple of moose, which may have been two from the morning. We then also managed to spot a Northern Shrike, but it was too far off for good images. We finished up with another cow and bull moose. This fella still had is hardware. Overall a pretty successful day. Put some wild in your life.

ps: Here is a shot of the Northern Goshawk that Kerri managed a shot of. It did a fly by in the area where we had all the horses.
You can see more of her images on her website.

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