Saturday, December 3, 2011

Snowy Owl ... How Awesome

Wow, I have spent the last few weeks reading emailed Ont-birds postings about the incredible birds showing up around Ottawa, Toronto, Hamilton and Niagara. Also, I've been a little sick for the two weeks, and birding has been slow around Windsor. I have walked Malden Park alot looking for Northern Shrikes, but I have not yet seen one this year!

It seems that this Winter, there is a Snowy Owl eruption into Southern Ontario.  Further to my amazement, I read about Blake's Snowy Owl sighting Near Wallaceburg, and had to followup on seeing it. I decided to get up early, and head out and try my luck at finding it. As I was scraping frost off my windshield, I was thinking about how slim a chance I have of seeing a wild Owl in some distant field over an hours drive away. But sure enough... it was exactly where it was seen last yesterday!

It was a beautiful morning this morning, and I enjoyed watching the sun rise as I drove down the 401. I also saw hundreds of Tundra Swans flying in V-shaped patterns overhead as I drove near St Clair NWA.

Upon arriving to the target field near Wallaceburg, I parked 200m away from the Owl and figured I would walk into a soya-bean field and give the Owl a nice 100m perimeter. My goal was to view the owl and photograph and videograph it without disturbing it or flushing it.

It was amazing to behold! The sunrise was casting golden-pink light on its white feathers and periodically, it would look at me with its beautiful yellow eyes.  Just as I was appreciating the awesomeness of this bird, a pick-up truck pulls over, just meters from the Owl's Post, and a man starts walking towards me. This farmer didn't realize I was looking at an owl. We talked and I showed him what I was looking at, he even looked at it through my binoculars. He then went on his way and flushed the owl on the way back to his truck. The owl just flew a little then re-perched on the next telephone post!
After spending some time observing the Owl, I figured I would leave it alone and possibly head back home. I called my wife as I was driving back home, and shared in my excitement. She then called me "Bostick"... from the movie "The Big Year". My wife was like, "don't come home too early, I am going to my sisters house, why don't you go to Point Pelee?" ... Uhmmm, OK.

As I drove out of Wallaceburg, I saw so many small rivers and creeks, its really a nice little town. An American Kestrel caught my eye so I figured I would snap a photo... it was much more shy than the Owl. 

Point Pelee was nice to visit on the way home. I basically drove up to the tip parking lot and observed thousands of Scaup and Red breasted Mergansers. I was hoping to find a Black Scoter or even see a loon species but no such luck. On the way out, I ran into my friend from Leamington, Rick who pointed this sleeping Eastern Screech Owl. I shot this while sitting in my car near the Sanctuary Lookout.

I did take some video of the Snowy Owl, but no time this afternoon to process it or upload it to my Youtube account. Stay tuned, I will probably update this posting with a 1-minute long video of the Snowy Owl!

Good Birding!

PS: Learn more about the Snowy Owl at  Allabout birds's Site:

Lifer Summary: Snowy Owl #288


  1. Super photo of the Snowy Owl!!
    This one seems quite comfortable. I parked right below it late yesterday.
    It is nice when you chase after a bird and find it in the prescribed location!

  2. Very jealous! :) I've been researching how to try and find owls in the wild and not finding a lot of good information or tips. Love the shot of the screech owl!
    Continuing to enjoy your blog.

  3. So jealous! Two owl species in one day! I am dying to see one....especially a Barred or Snowy owl, but lack the time to go chasing them :(

  4. I just saw one tonight in Downtown Toronto. Great photos!

    ~ Kristen Martyn

  5. Guys, thanks for the comments. I still have a stupid grin on my face. Brian, seeing owls really depends (in my experience) on the network you build. All the owls I've seen were basically pointed out to me through a network of birders I've met in the local area. Once you see them more often, you will understand when they show up and where to look. Seeing this bird blew my mind! Thanks again Blake! ~DM

  6. That is so awesome. I have not seen one yet.

  7. Hi there. Great pictures, and I see you have seen the next Owl, that I hope to see someday. A Eastern Screech Owl!! I live in Toronto, and this past Sunday, my wife, Jean, and I came upon a Barred Owl in Rouge National Park, near Markham, Ontario. This was the second time in six weeks that we have come upon, and filmed, an owl out in the wilds. The first was a Saw-Whet Owl. Prior to these two sightings, we had never seen an owl in its natural habitat. Needless to say, it has been an exciting six weeks. Our pictures and video of the Barred Owl sighting are posted on our blog at:

    Our pictures and video of the Saw-Whet Owl sighting are at:



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