Snowy Owl – yay!

Friday I was out with Claude hoping to add to his expanding life list with, perhaps, a few year ticks thrown in for me too. We started off at a chilly Verdun down on the St-Lawrence River. There was much less ice than last week meaning many of the duck were further out. We didn’t pin down any of the Barrow’s Goldeneye present, nor did we espy a Harlequin. Way out were 45 Canada Geese that made eBird ask whether I’m sure, yes I am, I counted them.

The light and weather were a bit iffy but we opted to continue the day at Mirabel, looking for Grey Partridge and Lapland Longspur, both were a bust. We did see six Snowy Owls though. One was a bomb-proof post sitter and various bods with cameras enjoyed her company for a while. Naturally I missed the head on yawning shot – I was feeling the cold a bit – but I did capture her post scratch glare. As sometimes happens with this species, this bird treated us all with utter disdain, passing cars likewise. Below are a few images of it ignoring us.

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Further on we had another bird sitting on a mound out in the field. I digiscoped at range getting a nice arty shot. Later it sat on a barn roof and posed while a small flock of Feral Rock Pigeons panicked a bit.

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In one part of the area we were watching some Snow Buntings (why not snowy buntings like the owl, or, why Snowy Owl and not Snow Owl like the buntings?) when we picked up a distant couple of owls interacting. They swooped in and almost talon locked in mid-air. A National Geographic shot had we been just 700m nearer!

Dragging ourselves away from the owls, we dropped into the dump towards Lachute. The gulls were up on the top and only an adult Glaucous was visible. Then the rest of the birds became active and good numbers of both Glaucous and Iceland of all age classes showed. As the weather close din we headed back, passing yet another Snowy Owl – this bird making it a modest seven for the day but with some great watching to be had.

The weather people are predicting deep freeze temps next week so it’s back on with the padded trousers for a while I think.



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