Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

February 20, 2012

Snowy #8, 9 and 10!!!!

So, anybody who has been following my blog in the last while knows I have been enjoying the "Snowy Owl Invasion" this winter.

I had my seventh Snowy sighting just over a week ago and I believe I made mention how I had hoped to reach ten Snowy Owl sightings, as in ten different Snowy Owls, before the end of the winter. Well, lo and behold, I racked up 3 this past Saturday. Two of which were pretty far out in fields, so didn't even attempt to photograph either. Plus, we had driven up to Gravenhurst in one heck of a snow storm that morning for a 3 hour photo shoot at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre. It was a fun but exhausting number of hours. I don't enjoy long drives and especially in snow storms. I drain myself due to stress and heavy concentration with the drive.

The ride home was much better, and we decided to stop off and scope out an area we knew Snowy Owls had been reported seen at. I visited a day earlier and only found the male I have seen a few times this winter. I shouldn't say "only" because he is one beautiful Owl and a treat to see. And the Snowys won't be here past the winter months, so might as well enjoy them. And Saturday with a few extra sets of eyes looking for them, a couple more Snowy Owls were seen after the photo shoot. Much thanks to our friend Amanda for picking them out deep in some farm fields.

And then later that afternoon, Angie and I had a wonderful surprise of seeing yet another Snowy Owl fly south from the airport fields and land on a lamp post along highway 401. As much as I wanted to veer over to the shoulder, hammer on the brakes and get a good lengthy look at him... it just wasn't possible, and definitely a dangerous choice I could have made. Ah well. We know what we saw without any doubts, so he counts as well.

I am not raising the numbers in hopes of hitting 12, 15 or ??? Ten is a darn good number of actual Snowy Owls to see in a matter of 3 months.

But that don't mean I won't keep my eyes open for any more in the remaining weeks of winter or head out to another area when sightings may get reported.

Here are a couple photos of the most recent Snowy Owl that I was able to stop and photograph from a respectable distance. It is a male, and in the numbers of sightings, he is actually number two (second Snowy Owl I saw this winter). But they are all number one in my opinion!

Here he is giving himself a good wash (preening).

Any time I've ever seen him prior, he's just chilling out. Today was a nice show of something different.

Preening was done, I drove past him, had one last look and off I went.

February 13, 2012

Snowy #7...

Hey, hi how are yas?

This is a real quick bit, got a good one coming up soon with some nice shots.

Today though, I saw my 7th Snowy Owl for the winter. A heavily barred female. She was quite a distance away but nice to view and admire on a very sunny mild February morning along the shores of Lake Ontario.

I am hoping to hit double digits on Snowy sightings before they leave us. I gotta get moving though...

Here she be, heavily cropped.

One of the first Snowy Owls of the season has returned to the area where I saw him back in December (he seemingly disappeared for a few weeks). Got a nice view of him yesterday on our way home from Algonquin Park. He was a lifer for some friends of ours. I had to do some work to the photo to bring him out of the drab grey sky. Kinda cool looking, so I think...

Wish me luck on a few more in the coming weeks.


February 1, 2012

LIfer! White-winged Crossbills

On Monday January 30th, a short stroll in Lambton Woods, had me standing along a path for a moment trying to take a photo of a White-breasted Nuthatch... which I got as you can see below.

And moments later in flew a flock of 20+ birds very near me. They were incredibly noisy and very active (the ones on the ground anyways). And in a moment I knew they had to be Crossbills.

Angie and I have wanted to see these rare (to us), sporadic winter visitors for a few years now. And a week earlier we ventured to a spot where they were reported 18 hours earlier. Something we tried a few winters back as well but always seemed to be just behind these birds and missing them.

So, with so many "near sightings", I envisioned it in my head how it would be the day I finally see this species. And indeed it played out just like that...

The birds flew in to whatever area I was in and they would pretty much raid it for their food source of seeds within the cones of coniferous trees. Their beak is designed just for that cracking of the cones.

Unfortunately my first sighting had them fly into a spot where many people feed the winter residents of Lambton. Of the say 20 birds, about 12 stayed at the top of the trees (which weren't coniferous) while the other 8 scrounged about the ground kind of like scouts. I had maybe 2 minutes of viewing the birds before they all flew off together north/west in search of food.

If there had been something there for them, I recon all of them would have had at it, and I would have had a much longer viewing of them.

I had my camera with me but didn't even try to take a photo until the last few seconds. For a lifer, I need to see the bird with my own eyes and absorb this into my brain. Trying to get a shot right away would surely kill that "lifer" moment. I have to admit there was a voice in the back of my head saying this a few times "take a picture dumb-dumb". But I just couldn't. And in the final seconds with them, the brush was far too busy for the lens and the lighting was lacking. So no photos for me but the pictures in my head are pretty cool anyways.

Lifers are freaking awesome! I only wish Angie was there with me for this. Hopefully we have another sighting of them before the winter comes to an end, and they are in a spot with a good food supply so we have more than a couple minutes with the birds.

I borrowed the Crossbill image from the internet in a Google search...