Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 08/30/2014

Photo taken on August 28, 2014

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side view
Athene cunicularia
Panasonic DMC-FZ200
Anne Elliott
Burrowing Owl
SE of Calgary
NE of Waterton
Waterton Lakes trip
bird of prey
fence post
what a thrill

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Pure joy

Pure joy
There are 35 images in my Burrowing Owl album - this photo shows the first and only Burrowing Owl that I have ever been fortunate enough to see in the wild. To say that it was a thrill is an understatement! These owls are tiny and so difficult to see, especially when they are down in the grasses. They are a true delight when or if they are seen on a fence post, so that the whole of the bird can be seen, not just a bright yellow eye peering out between the blades of grass. We saw two different individuals, possibly three, and for a brief moment both were perched on fence posts at the same time. Most of the time, though, they were mainly hidden in the grass, so my photos tend to be of "eyes". Such a great pity that this is an endangered species!

Without the help of two friends (Ron and Joyce) who helped us know where we might find these birds, and friends Cathy and Terry who invited me to go with them on a wonderful three-day trip to Waterton Lakes National Park, I would never have had this amazing sighting. For years, I had longed to see a wild Burrowing Owl, but never thought it would actually happen! Same for Cathy and Terry, so all three of us are SO grateful for the help we received! I'm still on a natural high and I know I will be for some time yet : )

During out three days away, we saw so many things, I hardly know where to start. This always happens when I go anywhere with Cathy and Terry - every day is a very long, fun-filled day, full of exciting finds. So many, that I still haven't added a description under the six photos from our trip, posted so far.

Perhaps I will simply mention some of the things and then add more detail to each photo as I add them to my photostream. Of course, we couldn't have had a more beautiful area to explore! Waterton Lakes National Park has amazing scenery and wildlife. The weather forecast that I saw before we left Calgary said that we were in for three beautiful days of sunshine - too often, it can be rainy weather. So, luck was on our side, giving us warm, sunny days - until the BIG STORM hit, lol! We drove eastwards from the park, hoping to see Yellow-bellied Marmots and, if we were really lucky, a Burrowing Owl. Yesterday, I posted a photo of the storm that was approaching very fast, around 5:00 p.m. just before we started our return trip to Calgary. It was like nothing I had ever seen before - a menacing shelf (?) cloud that was travelling fast and furious. Despite trying our best to get away from it, it eventually engulfed our car, surrounding us with more or less zero visibility, pounding hail, thunder and lightning. There was nothing to do but stop the car and sit tight, hoping that the hail would not break the car windows and that this severe thunderstorm would not develop into a tornado! This storm was very scary, but at the same time, exciting (only because all turned out OK in the end!). Our road trip sure went out with a bang!

So, a few of the things we saw - fantastic scenery, 4 Black Bears (including one that was swimming in the lake), Bison, Deer, Golden-mantled Ground Squirrels, Chipmunks, various bird species including the Burrowing Owls, a few wildflowers, several Yellow-bellied Marmots (a first for me!), a few different insect species, and a family of some species of Grouse (still not sure what kind). I even got the chance to see three or four new-to-me old, wooden grain elevators.

Cathy and Terry, thanks so much for yet another wonderful trip with you! Can't thank you enough for inviting me along. You always do such a great job of finding so many interesting things for us to see and enjoy. Lots of fun!

"As a result of its ENDANGERED Species status in 1995, it has the focus of a variety of conservation efforts. Operation Burrowing Owl and other projects involving habitat preservation with landowners have been created. Populations are monitored by Fish and Wildlife departments. They have been reintroduced into the British Columbia interior, where it was extirpated. Outlook would improve if larger areas of habitat were preserved and harmful pesticides were banned in all areas of their range. Numbers could increase if an increased tolerance to burrowing mammals develops (i.e. badgers) – provides homes for the Burrowing Owl. Outlook: perilous." From

Les's Photography AKA aligeeach has particularly liked this photo

Tess Mc Kenna
Tess Mc Kenna
Fantastic capture of this Owl Well done Anne. Great Info Regards Tess.
4 years ago.