Sunday, January 30, 2011
Long eared Owl and some other Pelee area birds
I ran into a friend of a friend who happens to be a subject matter expert when it comes to owls at Point Pelee. He was driving by me and we spoke for a minute and he agreed to show me the location of this wonderful, mysterious bird. (lifer #225).
My main impression after seeing a long eared owl is... How beautiful. Its smaller than I thought it would be. It was very skinny around the chest, I don't think the photo gives a good context of scale. Its like a rolled-up pennysaver newspaper. In my mind, I was thinking this would be a big as the great horned owl. It is so well camouflaged that even though it was 10-15ft away from me, I would completely lose the owl if I looked away even momentarily... very weird.
Just a quick mention of birding ethics with Owls... Never use flash on them*. Never try to attract birds with Ipods. This is unethical and not in the birds best interests. We also remained in our car and used it as a blind. This gave us limited angles with which to photograph. Use a strong telephoto lens and give the owl some room (I use a Sigma 500mm zoom lens and most of my photos are cropped which increases zoom even further). Make an attempt to observe the bird without flushing it and then leave it be.
Some birds seen today include:
Eastern Screech Owl
Long eared Owl (lifer #225)
Red Tailed Hawks (5 along highway 3 to Windsor)
Rough legged Hawks (2 dark morphs)
Sharp Shinned Hawk
Dark eyed Junco
Various gulls and duck along East Beach of PPNP.
*Instead of using flash, use other techniques such as increase ISO settings, increase aperture, lean on a steady object to reduce camera shake.