Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Snowy Owl in Our Neighborhood
When I say “neighborhood” I mean anything within 20 minutes’ drive and since location of where we spotted the owl falls into this category then this owl is in our neighborhood. Now that general geographic location of this fairly rare bird for South-Western Ontario is established let’s get down to details.
This morning about 9 o’clock we were driving to London taking a scenic country road route. Nice sunny day, just few clouds on horizon and not a fleck of snow anywhere. The country roads here are quite chopped up so it is constant left turn and few kilometers down the road you do a right turn and so it goes until you zigzag your way in diagonal North-Westerly direction to Highway 401 or all the way to London just 45km away. Shortly after I made one of these direction changes I spotted bright white bird in a plowed corn field and immediately said to Marjo: “We’ve just passed a snowy owl.” I stopped immediately about 70 meters past the spot he was sitting, got out of the car and slowly opened up the trunk where I had all my camera gear from this morning sunrise shoot (yes, another one) including my heavy Manfrotto 500 tripod. I mounted Canon75-300mm zoom paired with 1.4X extender on the camera which was the longest lens in my bag, I left my Vivitar 120-600mm zoom coupled with 2X extender at home (never again!) and started to move towards the owl. I didn’t want to take my tripod because it is big and it would look threatening to the bird. I definitely regret that decision since I use tripod all the time, I like sharp photos. I was astonished how calm that bird was, he did pay attention to me as you can see from his expression but he was too busy getting at his meal that looked like a groundhog or rabbit, it was dark grey brown and fairly large. He lifted it few times but I never caught it on camera. I will go back tomorrow with my long lens and see if I can relocate him again. The location where he was to day is at 42°53'13.69"N, 80°53'53.00"W, which is on north side of Wilson and west of Pigram Rd. in Elgin County, south-east of London.
Most of the time, I was ignored. Too bad I didn’t use my tripod!!!