Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 01/19/2016

Photo taken on January 18, 2016

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Birds Birds


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

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Find the owl

Find the owl
If it wasn't for the bright yellow of this Short-eared Owl's open eyes, it might not have been spotted at all. Friend, Bonnie, did an amazing job of seeing this bird tucked in amongst the tree trunks and dried grasses yesterday afternoon. People were concentrating on a different individual in the same clump of trees, but Bonnie was quite convinced that she had seen a second owl. Sure enough, she eventually managed to help the rest of us see the owl in this photo. It was quite a distance away and my photo is fully zoomed and cropped. Seen at the original distance, it was almost impossible to find, despite Bonnie's clear directions. I would imagine that this bird was one of the three seen in a photo I posted yesterday.

So, yes, yesterday, I made a second trip out east of the city. Two days in a row is most unusual for me to make a drive like this. I had two reasons - now that I had been brave enough to do this drive, I wanted to go again while I could still make myself do it. The more times I go somewhere, the more confident I feel. Secondly, needless to say, I was hoping to see some owls again, maybe even closer. The 'closer' part never happened, at least not in the couple of hours I was out there. People who spend the day, or at least many hours, are far more likely to get the shots they want, but at the risk of stressing the birds. Unfortunately we are seeing, or hearing about, the same thing happening as happened a year ago with the tiny Northern Pygmy-owls. In the short time I've spent there, the owls have never come close and I would guess that that is because there are just too many cars and people. Yesterday, we even noticed footprints in the snow, showing that someone (or more than one) had climbed over the barbed-wire fence to get a closer shot. Unbelievable! I could almost guarantee that it was someone with a huge, long lens, who didn't even need to get closer! Just leaves me shaking my head. Please put the well-being of the owls (and any wildlife) before your obsession to get a closer shot.