Thursday, 13 December 2012

Snowy Owls in the snow

The prairies west of Strathmore

After domestic duties we headed east of Calgary towards Strathmore and soon turned off on minor roads reach RR251 north of Sadler's Slough and driving east.  It was tremendously bright sunshine but the temperature was minus 14.  On our journey we had spotted a Merlin flying across the road carrying prey and later after leaving the city we picked up a Prairie Falcon again flying across the road and identified by its "black armpits".  Driving up the snowy farm roads it was not long before we found our first Snowy.  An immature sitting on an oil tank in a frosty field.

The first Snowy Owl of the day - an immature
The bird was not in a great position to photograph and we left it peering at us from its perch.  Heading on east down the road we drove for some time before finding a second owl perched on a post.  It seemed to be attracted by a flock of about 1,000 Common Redpolls feeding on weed seeds.  This bird was incredibly tame and allowed me to walk up to get photographs.

The second Snowy Owl - also an immature.

Closer view of the second owl
After spending an hour or so with the second bird we headed back to Calgary.  Joining the Deerfoot Trail south suddenly skeins of Canada Geese were flying north totalling 500 in number.  Crossing the Elbow river a Common Goldeneye flew over and a Bald Eagle was sitting in a nearby tree.  We did a bit of shopping and arrived back home to reflect on an amazing morning.


  1. Fantastic. I miss the days of living in Boston where I could go out on just about any winter day and see a Snowy Owl. Now here in the mid-Atlantic I get to see one every three or four years.

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