First Snowies

Two Snowy Owls south of St-Julie near St-Clet today are my first of the winter and about a month late based on the previous seven winters. Unfortunately they were too distant for photos, perhaps tomorrow they will venture nearer. Not much else at large, 120  Bohemian Waxwings pre-roost on Chemin Fief and the shivering Great Blue Heron fishing from the ice on the last free bit of its favoured stream along Chemin St-Henri, -15 today might see it off one way or another.

No photos this time, I’m hoping for better as the winter develops.

Never pass up the chance of a Hawk Owl

The dearth of Snowy Owls this winter continues but is being made bearable by a mini invasion of Northern Hawk Owls, or, more likely, news of them is now getting out again. Today we travelled off Gatineau way looking for one of three reported birds in the general area. We had been that way before about three years ago and enjoyed great views of a Hawk Owl doing what they do best, ignoring you.

The Hawk Owl has been present for about a month or so along snowy rough lanes in the dumbles north of Gatineau, not far from the town of Low. The habitat looks very birdy and the owl has been seen being mobbed by Gray Jay and Black-backed Woodpecker amongst other species during its stay. No such luck today but the owl was there, holding vigil on its ‘look at me’ bare twig and with a couple of people there to enjoy it.  During our stay it launched into all too brief hunting sallies, catching nothing but great to see.

Below a few shots taken without going past the ‘privee’ sign seemingly hastily erected. Quite why the landowners felt it was necessary is beyond me as hunters are allowed to stomp all over these areas where as all birders and photographers want to do is venture a short way into a frozen field for a better illumanted shot. Such is the World.

A digishot, still lousy at it!

A bit better than yesterday

Saturday 1st January 2011 was cancelled due to fog although I did manage 16 species for the day!

Sunday was a much better day weather-wise, its has been mild here with 6 degrees and melting snow. Bird-wise I saw more, I managed to find a flock of 75 or so Common Redpoll with at least 1 Hoary (Arctic) Redpoll present.  Bohemian Waxwings were easy to find again, 45 by the Solange Canal at Les Cedres but no longspurs so far.

Once home I downloaded my emails and saw a message from a local birder/photographer to our email group regarding  a Boreal Owl at Bois Papineau, north of Montreal on Laval (thanks Chuck). I’ve only seen Boreal Owl twice so we went ‘on-spec’ and eventually found three photographers looking up. The bird was partially obscured all of the time we were there and backlit but gave great views through the bins. If you want to try for it cross the railway at the first crossing from the car park, take the first track left for about 400m then look for the well trodden path to the right, the bird was on the left about 25m in from the main track parallel to the railway, look for the trodden ground, its reported to have been there four weeks, good luck.

Below my record shots.