Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 01/14/2016


Photo taken on January 24, 2015


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Keywords

nature
Calgary
FZ200
annkelliott
Anne Elliott
Fish Creek Park
© All Rights Reserved
Northern Pygmy-owl
Glaucidium gnoma
popcan-sized
fist-sized
© Anne Elliott 2015
with captured Meadow Vole
front view
Alberta
supper
snack
winter
bird
outdoor
branch
bird of prey
owl
prey
ornithology
perched
avian
Canada
24 January 2015


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A tiny owl from the past

A tiny owl from the past
I have been meaning to post one of these photos for almost a year now! I did post a different one ages ago, taken when this tiny (popcan or fist-sized) Northern Pygmy-owl flew up to this branch, but the colouring and light were different. By the time I took this particuar photo, the light was fading and the image is not quite as sharp as I would have liked. It's difficut to see, but the owl had already started on its meal - Meadow Vole brains on the menu.

www.owlpages.com/owls.php?genus=Glaucidium&species=ca...

Another reason I felt like posting an owl photo is that yesterday, 13 January, I was all set to drive a short way east of the city to look for owls. I was desperately in need of taking a break, of something to take my mind off other things (mainly the fact that my daughter was just out of hospital the day before, after surgery, and knowing that she will likely need major surgery) for a short while. My maps were printed, and I had summoned up enough courage to make the trip and I wanted to do it before the forecast snow arrived (today!). Needed to fill up my car with gas and then off I could go. However, my car was making an almost constant squeaking/rubbing sound - not the kind of screeching sound made when a person's brakes are wearing out and they come to a slow stop at traffic lights. This squeaking sound was happening all the time I was driving. So, instead of escaping from the city and my worries, I found myself once again driving to the car place to have my car checked and fixed. Wonderfully, they were able to fit me in for today, though I dropped it off yesterday afternoon to save getting up very early today. Just waiting to hear what they found - and how much it will cost.

Saturday, 24 January 2015, was a great day for seeing the tiny owl in Fish Creek Park. For once, I was up really early so that I could go on a birding walk, which was being held at the same location. Other than the usual Black-capped Chickadees, Nuthatches and Downy Woodpeckers, the two main species that we saw were the Pileated Woodpecker (a male and a female together) and a very distant Cooper's Hawk. When we were at the furthest spot, we got news that the Northern Pygmy-owl had appeared. Needless to say, we joined the photographers who were all lined up with their enormous camera lenses pointed upwards.

A long time after getting back to where the owl was and seeing it on several different branches that were not particularly easy to photograph, it suddenly flew down to the mass and tangle of bushes right where all the photographers were now standing. A few people knelt or lay down in the cold, melting snow so that they could get a better view through the thin branches. There was no way I could do that, so my view was not as good. All my photos, except maybe two or three, were no good at all and needed to be deleted : ( However, as far as actually seeing the owl at such close quarters was concerned, it was a great chance. It was amazing to see this tiny bird of prey up close, and it was really good to see how at ease it seemed. It then flew down, caught a Meadow Vole and flew up into the thin, forked branch seen in this photo, where it posed beautifully along with its catch and then began to eat the Vole's brains.

After about four hours of standing around, it was time to go home, especially as I had originally arrived at the park for the 3-hour bird walk seven hours earlier! Some people do this all the time and I don't know how they are able to do so. It requires so much patience (and free time!), and I'd never be able to do it if it weren't for friends to chat with while waiting and waiting. Two hours, maybe three, is my maximum - and it's definitely not good for the back and knees! It happens so rarely, though.

Kama 56, Guy Bas, Martin Humphreys, Bruno Suignard and 9 other people have particularly liked this photo


14 comments - The latest ones
Pam J
Pam J
OH Anne..........

This is STUNNING !!!!!!!!!!!!
19 months ago.
Pierre Pomerleau
Pierre Pomerleau
A superb capture, Anne !
What a story, also ! Hope your daughter is getting well !
19 months ago.
Claudine Gaulier-Denis
Claudine Gaulier-Den…
magnifique
19 months ago.
Jan Klimczak
Jan Klimczak
Wspaniałe! Gratuluję i pozdrawiam. Jan
19 months ago.
Fred Denis
Fred Denis
superbe!!
19 months ago.
Fred Denis
Fred Denis
superbe!!!
19 months ago.
Frode Øen
Frode Øen
Great capture.
19 months ago.
Nicole Le Roy
Nicole Le Roy
Oh ,superbe prise !
19 months ago.
Ken Dies
Ken Dies
Lovely photo, Anne.
18 months ago.
Martin Humphreys
Martin Humphreys
Wonderful capture .. great shot.
18 months ago.
Yves Saulnier
Yves Saulnier
L'attente valait vraiment la peine.
Excellente photo.
18 months ago.
Guy Bas
Guy Bas
Que c'est beau
17 months ago.
Christian Caffin
Christian Caffin
Amazing capture! Regards, Christian
2 months ago.
Kama 56
Kama 56
Superbe
2 months ago.