Last year our region was stuck by wildfires. Many acres of forest burned and required a lot of assistance from neighboring countries to help extinguish it.
This past winter, we saw an increase in Great Gray Owl sightings. I for one witnessed this during one of my aurora expeditions when a Great Gray Owl flew right in front of me. They are not uncommon around these parts, but there has been an increase in the numbers and I can only assume this is due to the fires we had last summer which destroyed a lot of the forests and burned the ground. This of course would mean that the main diet of forest mice and shrews were either killed or displaced due to lack of cover from the forest moss. Whatever the reason, it’s nice to see these majestic birds take residence near to us.
My friend called me up and asked if I wanted to go out and shoot some pictures of an owl that was nearby that he received eyewitness reports as to its location. Of course I was excited to get some photos and we set out in search for it.
We had driven to and past the location is was last seen but to our disappointment, it was gone. So on our way back he decided to take a detour onto a less used road but we didn’t find the bird. As we had given up and were about to turn back onto the main highway, I noticed a man standing in front of a tree holding up his telephone so I notified my friend and we drive to him. As we arrived, we noticed the owl was on a low branch on the tree so we got out of the car and approached it.
The owl didn’t seem to care we were there. He just rotated his head around like R2D2 looking and listening for signs of dinner. This was great because we were able to get pretty close to it and get some pretty nice pictures of it. Because the tree grew on an incline, I was able to get nearly eye level with the owl and and shot a picture or 50 directly at it. The photo of the closeup is one of these shots. In this particular photo, the owl is looking down at my friend which I thought was pretty cool and I imagined the owl swooping down and taking my friend’s hat and flying off. To my subtle disappointment, it never did it but it would have made for some great pictures as I’m sure my friend would have freaked out a bit.
These pictures can be viewed on their own and are archived in the “Nature” catalog.