Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 01/18/2016

Photo taken on January 17, 2016

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Asio flammeus
winter scene
Short-eared Owl
Anne Elliott
E of Calgary
Family: Strigidae
bird of prey
17 January 2016

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Triple treat

Triple treat
Yesterday, 17 January 2016, I finally got out for a much-needed drive out of the city. It seems ages since I did this, but I had some time, the sun was making its way through the clouds, and I had plucked up the courage to go east from the city. Recently, I was out that way on a birding trip with a group and we had seen a total of 6 extremely distant Short-eared Owls (3 pairs) at different locations. So, I was really hoping that my courage would be rewarded by spotting at least one owl : )

As you might guess from this photo, all the birds were far away. I didn't crop this any further, as I think some people, when they crop, forget that some people have a larger screen than they do, and that photos on a larger screen look far worse than on a small one : ) These birds were way across a field and didn't once come close and perch on a fence post. However, I can't believe that I was lucky enough to see three of them perched together like this. How beautiful they are. This does seem to be a good winter for this species, which is exciting.

Standing in -15C (windchill -22C) weather is NOT fun, trust me! It was SO cold. Fortunately, people were standing right by their cars and could climb back in when the pain became too unbearable. Five minutes occasionally of running the engine was barely enough to keep me going, plus a handwarmer inside my right glove. My feet finally thawed out once I arrived back home. It was all worth it, though, just for the chance to see these beautiful owls.

When I left this area, I made a turn down a backroad, as i had noticed a red barn in the distance. Quite a nice old barn with a collapsing roof, seen in my third photo posted this morning, with another barn next to it.

"A bird of open grasslands, the Short-eared Owl is one of the most widely distributed owls in the world. It is found across North America, South America, and Eurasia, and on many oceanic islands." From AllAboutBirds.