Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snowy Owl and more!


Members of our local birding forum have reported seeing several Snowy Owls in the next county, about a 45 minute drive from our home. Today was beautiful and sunny so my husband suggested we drive over to see if we could find one. I have never seen an owl in the wild. As Snowy Owls are somewhat diurnal, this would be our best chance to see one. The location was very specific and the map led us to a bull ring in the middle of nowhere.

We drove very slowly looking at every fence post (there were lots of them!) and on our second pass, my husband spotted this owl sitting quite a distance from the road. The sky here was overcast and lake effect snow was falling, but I had a very good view with the binoculars and was able to take a few recognizable pictures. While we were there, another member of the birding forum pulled up with a tripod and big lenses, and he took these pictures of the same bird.


We drove around a couple of nearby concessions and noticed a lot of bird activity in a cornfield. The ground was covered in Snow Buntings, hundreds and hundreds of them. They were moving about quickly and noisily. I took a random shot into the cornfield and can see at least half a dozen birds camouflaged in the stalks. Ahead on the road, a large number of Snow Buntings were rummaging through the gravel.


The expert photographers who belong to the birding forum have some excellent pictures of the Snowy Owls. (Check here, and here and here). I enjoy their pictures even more knowing that I have seen the bird myself. Southwestern Ontario is hardly a birding destination in February, but I was able to add two more birds to my life list today. And that may keep me content until the snow starts to melt.

18 comments:

  1. Congratulations: near or far, you saw.

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  2. That's so cool! The owl is beautiful! Thanks for sharing the other pictures, too. Wow!

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  3. The Snowy Owl is my next bird species that I need to target and see! Seeing your photos really make me crave finding them! :)

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  4. Oh, I'd love to see such an owl in the wild! I've only seen 2 owls in my life!

    Glad you had a nice day out with your husband!

    TTFN .. Cis

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  5. What wonderful pictures on your birding forum. That is a gorgeous bird.

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  6. Majestic. About 6 years ago I saw one sitting on a pole - 6:30am
    Next day, there again but have never seen one since.

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  7. The pictures were amazing. I want to see one!
    Beth

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  8. Wow, congratulations Ruth!!!

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  9. Oh WOW Ruth! How very beautiful! Lucky, lucky you!!!

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  10. Those professional shots give me goosebumps. Spectacular. I once saw a snowy owl in Wyoming. On the other hands, I can't find a single bird in your find the bird in the cornfield shot.

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  11. Oh my word. Beautiful! And those close up pictures reveal the bird that so few of us are lucky enough to see.

    And those buntings. Very sweet. I don't think I've ever seen one well. How neat.

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  12. That's such a beautiful owl. Good for you, Ruth! What a thrill!

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  13. Oh, my, goodness. Ruth, I've never seen an owl in the wild, either. I was quite satisfied with your photos! The ones taken on your link were superb. What a beautiful bird. Congratulations!

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  14. Wonderful! Those would also be lifers for me. Maybe some day. I checked out some of the photos from the links you provided. Wow! Beautiful shots.

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  15. Thank you for your comments. I still am excited about seeing the owl. It is a good thing they are not closer to home, or I would be tempted to visit them every day!

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  16. Congratulations! The photo I saw in your post is good enough for me! The fact that you saw that one makes it more interesting.-It sounds like your starting to go awfully birdy on us!

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  17. Larry- I have a ways to go before I am as "birdy" as you :-)

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  18. Congratulations, Ruth! Those are great pictures! The snow buntings never hold still for me and you got a whole bunch of them to pose for you in addition to seeing that snowy owl. Way to go!!

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