Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 01/20/2014

Photo taken on January 10, 2014

1/125 f/3.2 108.0 mm ISO 125

Panasonic DMC-FZ200

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Great Grey Owl
Strix nebulosa
Griffith Woods
front/side view
bird of prey
Great Gray Owl
Anne Elliott

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Great while it lasted

Great while it lasted
On 10 January 2014, I had to remove my vehicle from the parking lot for the whole day, so that snow removal people could remove some of the snow and ice. I decided that if I drove over to the west of the city and went for a walk, that would kill a few hours. A Great Gray Owl had recently been reported, so I knew I needed to keep my eyes open. Shortly after I started, I passed someone who had just seen the owl about 20 minutes earlier, so I felt hopeful that it was still there. Further into the park, several other people gradually appeared, and it's always useful to have extra pairs of eyes. Eventually, it was finally spotted, hidden within the trees - well hidden! While I was there, it flew along the outer edge of the trees and then in among the trees, giving us some good views each time. It's always fascinating to watch how focused these owls are when hunting - it did catch a Meadow Vole and flew up to a broken tree stump deep within the trees to feed on it. A few other attempts were made, but when it landed, it was out of sight, so I don't know if it caught some other prey or not. I was exhausted by the time I got home, mainly from walking through the deep snow. So glad I was "forced" out of my home, though, otherwise I wouldn't have made the effort to drive across the city. We don't normally get Great Gray Owls within Calgary - I think one was reported something like 17 years ago - so this was an absolute treat. The owl was seen on several days over a period of maybe 10 days or so, but I don't think it has been seen for at least a week now, so presumably it has moved on. Always a shame when this happens and lots of people still hadn't had the chance to see it - but that's birding for you! This one may be a juvenile.

A few days ago, a friend sent me the following information that she had received from Gus Yaki, a well-known Naturalist in the city. This owl hasn't been seen the last three days, so maybe it has moved on. When asked about the possibility of the food supply having run out, he did not think the owl was feeding well because it was hunting during mid-day. It should have been hunting at dawn and dusk and sleeping during the day. He said they have excellent hearing. Also, he said he has not seen many small mammal tracks at this location and apparently the Meadow Voles have to surface to allow carbon dioxide to exit from their tunnels. He also said the owls see in ultraviolet which causes mouse urine to shine so they would see that." Thank you for passing on this interesting information, Bonnie - I hope you don't mind my adding it here.

Guy Bas, LeapFrog, Michiel 2005, ctofcsco and 3 other people have particularly liked this photo

Cats 99
Cats 99
Another super capture of this beautiful owl! I like how he really stands out from the background in this shot!
5 years ago.
Janano -
Janano -
Incredible! How fortuitous and wonderful shot too.
5 years ago.
Thanks for sharing your wonderful photo! Seen in oiseaux de mon monde
5 years ago.
One good thing ... you did not have to shovel the snow ... I rarely chase after a sighting ... a couple if my local contacts do this all of the time and generally I find it a waste of time by the time I get there ... so I do not do this anymore ... I have far too much to do other than photography, so I just wait until they come to me with camera at hand ... LOL ... an outstanding capture of this one Anne ... well done after all the hiking you did!!
5 years ago.
Tess Mc Kenna
Tess Mc Kenna
Seen In
For The Love Of Owls
Fantastic capture of this owl. Well done Anne Regards Tess
5 years ago.