It was -29°C overnight but had warmed up nicely to -23°C by the time I’d got my padded trousers on and ventured out. In this weather all birds bar the Snowy Owls are hard to find, well the Feral Pigeons are easy enough to find too but they don’t count. I’ll be presumptuous here and assume that you would rather see the pictures of the owls than the pigeons, even though we have been over-dosing on the owls this winter, well the Snowy ones we have.
The first owl photos (above) are of the same bird but on different dates. This bird has been sat on a hydro pole in the same area every time I’ve been past in the last three weeks. Most of the time it is obscured as one of the poles has some wire things put there by Hydro-Québec to frustrate photographers. Only twice has it been revealed in all its glory and, in keeping with my ‘grab a record shot when you can’ policy, I duly did.
On a little further and an owl right by the roadside looked good from behind but that big glowing thing in the sky meant that it was backlit, I blame the PQ Government for this and every other woe we may suffer. Moving to the other side, the owl’s tactics soon became obvious, it was hiding behind the twigs and therefore could not be seen.
The last bird was high in a tree on a road where no prisoners may be taken. I had a ten second window in the traffic and snapped with middling results, hard to get the white right against that sky.
The area I was birding was in the greater St-Clet area although thinking about it, I doubt that great and St-Clet appear in the same context too often. I did see a few other things but not much, not even a single Starling and believe me, I was looking. My little tour wound down with me taking an unkempt road that receives no gravel blessings in winter. My eyes were firmly on a Snowy Owl just 30m from the road and low down, then they wondered why I was now pointing a different direction. It took all my patience and driving cunning to get off the sheet ice and back to the welcome ruts and pot holes of a normal Québec road.
My morning total of Snowy Owls was 23 including two adult males and I wondered whether more owls had moved in from the north or some from the south were heading back north again. The other option was that they were relocated birds from Michigan Airport but then I remembered that they shoot them there instead of seeking a civilized solution, nine have died so far. From memory I can’t actually remember a bit of Michigan with a gap in the trees big enough for planes to land. I suppose it could be worse and we should be thankful that Kirtland’s Warblers don’t interfere with the planes eh?