Monday, 9 July 2012

Great Grey Ghost of the Woods at last!

This morning I got up at 5am and headed back to the owl site.  I was there by 5.55am but nothing at the spot I had been told.  I drove on down Grand Valley road a bit further just as the sun started to appear.  Looking to my left and to me great delight sat a large bundle of feathers on a fence post.  I stared through the binoculars finding it difficult to keep my hands steady in the excitement.  Then its head turned - Wow!.  My quest was over at last a Great Grey Owl.

A distant Great Grey Owl
I took as many photographs as possible whilst being eaten alive by mosquitos.  Another vehicle arrived carrying another photographer.  Not wishing to spoil his fun I drove off.  getting about 5 miles down the road I stopped.  What was I doing?  I had been hoping to see this bird all my life and now I had left having watched it for just under an hour.  I turned round and drove back.  The other photographer was standing just 10 feet from the bird.  He smiled when I got out and indicated I should join him.  The next hour was breathtaking.  This great bird treated us with complete disdain as it hunted the meadow.  I took over 200 photographs before withdrawing.  One of the greatest moments of my life.

Great Grey Owl
Great Grey Owl
Thanks to my pal Bob Abrams in Virginia USA who emailed me last night and suggested I should get up early if I wanted to see this bird.

Swainson's Hawk
To end a good session a great Swainson's Hawk on the way back for breakfast.


  1. Fantastic, Derek! As our friend Mike Martinek once said, they look like a three year old kid in a gray snowsuit.


  2. Wow Derek,so envious,what a bird,a once in a lifetime experience to say the least !!

    Jeff Slocombe

  3. By the way, that is an amazing looking Swainson's. Did you see it fly? I was just wondering if it had bold commas on the underwing. Beautiful bird. Extremely pale even for a light morph.