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Canada Day
Great Horned Owl
Anne Elliott
Bubo virginianus
© All Rights Reserved
early summer
Southern Alberta
© Anne Elliott 2017
bird of prey
1 July 2017

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A lucky find

A lucky find
This was one of the beautiful things that friend, Pam, and I saw on Canada Day, during a long, hot drive in Southern Alberta. As I was driving past this distant old barn, something caught my eye. I almost didn't reverse the car and check, but I'm so glad I did. No matter how many times I see a Great Horned Owl in a barn window, the thrill is the same with each one. For Pam, this was her very first time, a 'lifer'.

Canada Day, 1 July 2017, was a great day. I picked up Pam just after 8:00 am and did a long drive in Southern Alberta. We saw our target bird - a Common Nighthawk, and all sorts of other things including plants and old barns. It took a round trip of 414 km to get the Nighthawks, but it was so worth it! Much further than I normally drive. Towards the end of our day, the rain arrived, accompanied by lightning streaks. This couldn't have been timed more perfectly, to wash off a lot of the dust that covered my car after 12 hours of driving hot, dusty roads! So welcome! We have another hot day today and the forecast is for very hot days for at least the next week. So far, the forecast is 33C for Friday, 35C for Saturday and 31C for Sunday.

It was such a thrill to see a Common Nighthawk / Chordeiles minor (a rather strange looking bird), as I had always wanted to see one actually lying on a fence post or wooden railing. People get such amazing photos of them like that, and that is what I was determined to find this summer. Last year, I had driven to this area in Southern Alberta, hoping to find one, but had been out of luck. Most of the Nighthawk photos I took four days ago were of Nighthawks lying on metal railings, but I was still thrilled to bits. We saw four individuals, together, and one was on a fence post - not the best angle, but it was still nice to see a fence post perch. How close we came to missing them! I said I wanted to just check the first part of a small side road first, before continuing on the road we were on - and there they were! I had seen a nighthawk on maybe five different occasions over the years, but most were in flight and one was perched very high up in a tree. For Pam, this was the first time she had ever seen one, and she was so happy to see this lifer.

I was so tired after driving such a long distance and it was a hot day - the temperature got up to 30C. I so rarely do such a long drive, and I've barely driven all winter and spring. It felt so good to actually get out on a long drive like this, and we saw all sorts of interesting things that we just had to stop and photograph - of course!

Every single time I go out with my camera for a drive, I never forget to be SO thankful to live in a country where I have the freedom and safety to go where I want, and to see such beauty. Thank you, Alberta and Albertans - and Happy 150th Birthday, Canada! Such a young country.

Claudine Gaulier-Denis, Jeff Farley, Marie-claire Gallet, Tractacus and 3 other people have particularly liked this photo

 Rudy Bernardus
Rudy Bernardus
2 years ago.
Betty【ツ】 club
Fantastic ! Congrats on Explore !
2 years ago.
 Marie-claire Gallet
Marie-claire Gallet club
MAGNIFICENT capture *************************************
2 years ago.
 Jeff Farley
Jeff Farley club
This is a first class shot Anne - not only of the owl, which is magnificent in itself, but of the whole area of the barn. The textures are wonderful.
I love your story too !!!
2 years ago. Edited 2 years ago.
 Jeff Farley
Jeff Farley club
An excellent image Anne, thank you for posting to Fur, Fin and Feather.
2 years ago.

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