Anne Elliott

Anne Elliott

Posted on 03/27/2016

Photo taken on March 26, 2016

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front view
Strix nebulosa
Great Grey Owl
Great Gray Owl
Anne Elliott
© All Rights Reserved
NW of Calgary
© Anne Elliott 2016
bird of prey
looking down
early spring
26 March 2016

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Great Gray Owl, focused

Great Gray Owl, focused
Happy Easter Sunday, everyone!

All three photos posted this morning were taken yesterday, 26 March 2016, when I spent a long day driving NW of the city and then coming home via Bragg Creek and SW of the city. It was such a beautiful day and, once again, there was snow in the forecast for this coming week, so I thought I had better make the most of the good weather.

It had been quite a long time since I saw my last Great Gray Owl (before these recent sightings). Some of my last sightings had been one that was in Fish Creek Park in Calgary for a while and my last photos of it were taken on 18 February 2014. There was also a Great Gray at Griffith Woods, Calgary, and some of my photos were taken on 10 February 2014. Saw another owl on our May Species Count out of the city on 25 May 2014. Many of my 'best' sightings and photos of Great Grays were taken NW of Calgary, the last dates being 28 March 2013 and 5 May 2013. After 25 May 2014 .... nothing! So, seeing one (or two) in the last four weeks has been such a thrill. No matter how many times I see one of these owls and no matter how many hundreds/thousands of photos I've taken, each owl is as exciting as the very first.

When I first reached my approximate destination yesterday morning, I could see five or six cars way down the road, pulled over at the edge of the road. Often a good sign : ) Sure enough, friends had found an owl. For the first four minutes after I got there, the owl was perched on a barbed-wire fence in the sun, but then flew off and vanished. More than an hour later, someone saw it fly across the road and land in the distant trees. Had to look almost into the sun to get photos, so most of my images are grainy, but still happy to get them. The way these owls focus on something is amazing - they use their hearing rather than their sight. It sat there for maybe 45 minutes, barely moving except for turning its head, so not a huge variety of shots, but interesting to watch in person. When it disappeared further into the trees and out of sight, I started off on my long drive home, hoping to see a few early bird spring arrivals. I was out of luck, apart from a pair of Killdeer. Not a single Mountain Bluebird, anywhere, which did surprise me.

"Although the Great Gray Owl is the tallest American owl with the largest wingspan, it is just a ball of feathers. It preys on small mammals and has relatively small feet. Both the Great Horned and Snowy owls weigh half again as much, and have larger feet and talons. The oldest recorded Great Gray Owl was at least 18 years, 9 months old and lived in Alberta." From AllAboutBirds.

ROL/Photo, Les's Photography AKA aligeeach, Pam J have particularly liked this photo

Pam J
Pam J
They weigh in at barely 2 lbs !

Beautiful beautiful photos Anne... I am jealous as heck !

Admired in ~ I ♥ Nature
2 years ago.