A bit of brighter weather tempted me out today. I was going to scour the lanes to try to find a February Snowy Owl, but had to drop into St-Lazare town first. On the way out I had to go past the the fields that had hosted the Great Grey Owl until last Thursday. Naturally I cast a glance and there was the familiar oval blob. Plans changed and so I slushed along the skidiot trail hoping to take advantage of the good light. The thaw is underway here and the snow such fun to walk on, it being a couple of feet deep and full of surprises!
The owl took flight as I reached the area and jumped onto a featureless bit of snow then hopped about a bit, looking surprised that it had missed. It stayed on the ground behind some vegetation for a few minutes then flew about 80m away to do the classic ‘look at me’ thing on another sapling top. I watched for a while taking record shots with the new camera, as much to see what it would produce and expecting very little. The owl was clearly in hunting mode having had another sally at some unseen rodent, the latest escapade bringing it a bit nearer. Sensing that there might be some more action, I moved slowly through the snow and parallel in order to get the sun behind me, I then waited.
Eventually the owl launched groundwards again, landing on the open snow roughly 50m away from me, snap, snap, snap. I used the camera on maximum optical zoom plus some shots using the digital zoom too. I also fiddled around taking manual and auto shots, it was almost a toy camera workshop. Bored with stomping around, the owl then settled on an unfeasibly thin stalk just above the ground and set about doing some 360° scanning – all without moving its body. Boots full of snow and trousers wet to the formerly important bits (I am 55 and I’ll get some feeling back by July!), I sloshed back to the car happy, leaving the owl busy with another yet featureless spot in the snow.
Below are the fruits of my labour. There are also a couple of context photos but mostly cropped close up views. BTW, this is a different owl from last Thursday so now I’ve seen both.