Tuesday, 17 February 2015

Snowy Owls, Eagles, Merlin (20150214) A GREAT day with Jamie, Tim, and some owls

Well it had been a while since we had been out looking for the Snowy's so Jamie, Tim and I decided it was time. Tim had rented a new camera body (7D MK II) and it is always good to get subjects that you have already shot to assist in equipment evaluation. 7:10 we headed out and grabbed a bite on the road. For a change we decided to head to the North-east, some birds had been reported in the area. With ice crystals in the air I mentioned that the birds could easily "disappear" in that type of cloud cover. Our very first bird Jamie spotted when we were right underneath it. We went down the road a bit and tuned around. It didn't provide us with any photo opportunities so we had to wait until this bird assisted us in our quest.
About 30 minutes later we found these Grey Partridge. 
 Just a short 5 minutes later we spotted this cooperative owl. We spent about 30 minutes with this bird. As we waited occasionaly we received the benefit of some blue skies moving in. 
Our fouth Snowy provided no photo opps as it was on a pole line with no access.  Then around noon we found this pair of eagles scavenging in the middle of pairie area. 
And just up the road a bit were two more. Only one provided a photo opp, it looks pretty large on this fence post. 
Jamie made our next spot. "A small owl" was the exclamation, so we backed up slowly. We were only slightly disappointed when it turned out to be this female Merlin instead. She proved to be a very cooperative subject
So where are all these Snowy owls you ask? We found a total of 18 on the day, a new personal best. Here is one of my favourites from the day. I believ this was Snowy 5 or 6. While I am not much of a Landscape fan, I like this image. 
We accidentily flushed this next bird from the ground. We watched it for quite awhile after it had landed, once again in the field. Then it popped in this tree, and the Snow Buntings were none too happy about having it around. 
Then for some reason we started to find more "white" owls. This bird looked huge on the pole, and it just shone like a beacon in the sun which we were now having the joy of experiencing. 
Another bright white bird wa spotted at quite a distance as we were making a turn onto a new road. We confirmed it was in fact a Snowy and it provided us with a close up encounter. I think this is one of my best ever!
As the day was winding down and we were well on our way home, this bird provided us a yet another great "sitting".
Earlier in the day I had been speaking with the guys about the vsrious shots that I had been missing for Snowy's this year. We already grabbed a "tree" bird, then this sweetie decided to satisfy my "grainery" bird requirement. 
Tim spied this beautiful white bird as we were cruising on the highway, so we had to turnaround and get some shots. It decided not to hold so here is a take off shot. 
We found two more birds that time did not allow to take images of, we had to get Tim home on time. A new personal record for all of us with a final tally of 18 of these beautiful owls. We also spotted some coyotes and pheasants. I am hoping that Jamie and or Tim will be providing me with some additional images from the day.  This was my bride's Valentine's day gift to me; a day in the woods with the owls, what a sweetie.  This week, put some wild in your life!

Here are a couple of shots that Jamie provided to me from the day, here is a lovely shot of a rooster pheasant.
And a shot of one of ouer owls at take off.
For more of Jamie's shots visit his Flickr page here.

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