Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/18/2016

Photo taken on January  9, 2016

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Snowy Owl
hoar frost
Bubo scandiacus
Anne Elliott
E of Calgary
Mid-winter Bust-out
Terry K
blue sky
bird of prey
power pole
9 January 2015

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One of my few Snowy Owls of 2016

One of my few Snowy Owls of 2016
I did post a similar photo of this Snowy Owl earler this year, with the head turned in a different direction. I still haven't driven myself east of the city to look for Snowies, though I have seen a few very, very distant ones this winter.

This photo was taken on 9 January 2016, when I took part in a Mid-winter Bust-out trip east of the city, led by Terry Korolyk. Eight of us, plus our leader, took part in this day trip - maybe when everyone else saw what the temperature was first thing in the morning (-23C, not counting windchill, which would have made it much colder), they changed their mind about going! Everything was covered in a heavy layer of hoar frost, which turned everywhere into a beautiful winter wonderland. The sky was blue - what more could anyone want? Well, a few birds would be nice, of course : )

The highlight of the day was seeing 6 Short-eared Owls, in addition to 6 Snowy Owls (7 seen by the people in the other cars, when we split up at the end of the day). As a photographer, though, the only birds that were close enough were two of the Snowy Owls - the one in this photo and another one that was even further away. All the Short-eared Owls were tiny dots in the landscape. I don't know how anyone was able to spot them! We could have driven closer to this Snowy, but chose to keep our distance, meaning that 48x zoom and cropping were needed. I'm amazed (and thankful) that this photo came out OK, as most of the photos I took of anything that day are so blurry and not fit for use. Zoomed in shots, especially, suffered from heat distortion - and distorted they are!

Our meeting place was right across the city; a drive that I never enjoy at all, but I really didn't want to miss this outing. Some of the roads we travelled were ones that I had driven several times before. Most of the time, though, I had no idea where we were : )

As always happens on any day that I go anywhere, I turned my camera lens to anything else of interest/beauty, even more so when the birds are way, way off in the distance.

I will add the list of bird species seen that Andrew H. compiled. Many thanks, as always, for driving some of us - imuch appreciated! Thank you, Terry - it was a great day and greatly appreciated, as always! You did an excellent write-up of the whole day (not posted here).

3 Canada Goose
4 Rough-legged Hawk
1 Downy Woodpecker
34 Black-billed Magpie
46 Common Raven
73 Horned Lark
1 Black-capped Chickadee
75 Snow Bunting
511 Common Redpoll
1 Hoary Redpoll
32 House Sparrow