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.