Thursday, February 20, 2014

Owl Prowl (Part 1)

On this past Saturday (Feb 15) we went out with Christian Artuso on an 'Owl Prowl'. We went North of Winnipeg looking for owls. The week before Christian had went out and saw 3 Great Gray Owls.

Three of my brothers came with us, they also brought a friend. My dad invited his old work colleague who was interested in birds also to make our party 7. Christian and my dad's work colleague got here at around 7:00 AM and we all piled into our van.

We went to Lockport where a Northern Hawk Owl had been reported often. We think it was the same hawk owl as the one we saw on the Oak Hammock Marsh Christmas Bird Count. Christian said it was often seen around the Subway.

We took a back road behind the Subway, I wasn't expecting to see it, but sure enough there it was sitting atop a tree. I used Christian's camera while my brothers shared ours. Here are my pictures
Northern Hawk Owl
 We stood taking pictures and looking through Christian's spotting scope.

We finally decided to move on.
Northern Hawk Owls are very brave for owls and will not easily fly away from you.

We continued up to Breezy Point Road, where Christian saw the Great Gray's the week before. The drove along slowly scanning the trees for owls. I wasn't sure we were going to see one. Then my brother called out and we stopped the vehicle. A Great Gray Owl was sitting in some trees on the right hand side of the road. My first Great Gray Owl!!! I was pretty excited. It is also Manitoba Provincial Bird! We sat in the vehicle for a few moments  to watch it and see if it was calm and we could get out without scaring it off. It looked calm enough and we filed out of the van quietly and started snapping pictures. It was pretty difficult to get food pictures because it wasn't very close to the road and branches obstructed our view. Nevertheless we found some good views.
My first Great Gray!
They are Manitoba's biggest owl, but not heaviest. It only weighs two or three pounds!!
These are Manitoba's Provincial Bird. 
We stayed for a while taking pictures and getting different views.
Here is most of us watching the owl.
Someone drove up to us and said there was another Great Gray just up ahead really close to the road and would make excellent photos! We hopped in the van again and drove in search of the other owl!

Stay tuned for the next part with even better photos of the Great Gray!