Monday, February 18, 2013

Owl outing

Way way back at the beginning of this blog, we had a winter here in northern Minnesota that was full of great gray owls. I could not drive to work without seeing a dozen or more. It was amazing, and it was probably what got me to start blogging.

There has not been a northern owl irruption like that since, and there may never be. But recently I had heard of numerous sightings of boreal owls near Duluth, with a few great grays also reported. With the ever-present chance of seeing a snowy owl at the Superior airport, I decided it might be worth a day trip. I mentioned my tentative plans on Facebook, and I found a friend, Diana, whom I knew from the Christmas Bird Count, who was interested in accompanying me. When it comes to birding, two sets of eyes are much better than one.

The birding reports made it sound like we could just drive along Scenic Highway 61 along the Lake Superior shore until we encountered parked cars and spotting scopes, which would point the way to a boreal owl. Alas, the boreal owls, which would have been a life species for me, were evading even the most ardent birders that day. But we had one sighting and photo opportunity that made the day worthwhile:

During the great gray owl irruption of 2005, I did not yet own a digital camera, which was frustrating given the number of perfect photo opportunities I had. This shot more than makes up for it!


Denise said...

Beautiful owl! And thank you for the new word: "irruption"!

webb said...

It's such a magnificent bird. Would love to see one. Heck! I'd love to see whatever "common" owl it is that hangs out in the nearby woods! Thanks so much for sharinf it.

pablo said...

Nice sighting.

At night we listen to the owls in our woods. Mostly barred owls, but occasionally a screech owl lets loose, and the whole forest goes quiet for ten minutes.

I think I started blogging because I planted those pine trees of mine. Gee, I'm still planting pine trees.

Sandcastle Momma said...

Owls have always fascinated me and I have spent hours of my life trying to photograph them. No luck yet lol Your owl filled drive sounds wonderful!

Deb said...

Denise- I hadn't heard that term before I got interested in great gray owls.

Webb- Owl sightings are a rare treat! I keep hoping to hear one one of these nights.

Pablo- And I'm still chasing owls. Glad your blog is still around.

Sandcastle Momma- Great gray owls are very cooperative when it comes to posing for photos. Not skittish like a lot of other birds.

Deb said...

It just so turns out that Vinny has baseball camp Sunday morning at University of Minnesota-Duluth. 9-12. Wonder how many owls I can see in three hours?

Jayne said...

Perfection Deb! What a shot! :c) Glad you got to see this one and point a lens for prosperity.