Good Night Owl

Good night owl!

I found this one the usual way. This was before sunset in a pine tree on a cold day. I had a hard time getting a good angle with the branches. They like to hide in pine trees this time of year when the leaves are not on the other trees yet. The owl’s mate was on a neighbouring pine tree.

One of the Owls Hooting

Straggler

This straggler missed his flight. It appears he will be the last to leave the party. He lingered at his winter abode. There were four snowy owls on the beach. On the day these pictures were taken and the previous day, he was the only owl sighted. Have his three other beach mates started their journey back to the far north Canadian Arctic?

When I arrived he flew along the shore ahead of me and landed on this tree branch. He was there when I left.

I asked him where his friends were. I told him it might be time to head north soon. I hope his internal clock works well. A fellow female photo buff told me she went later and could not find him. Did he listen to me? I doubt it. They do fly between neighbouring beach areas.

Lots of different birds in the midst of migration to catch this owl’s attention.

All these photos are taken with a long lens and cropped significantly.

About a minute. That’s all I had with this light. Before and afterwards it was dark and cloudy. It was the best minute of my day. Appreciate even small time blocks of sunshine. Stay safe and stay healthy.

Buffalo in NY

This one just wanted to give me these looks.
It makes you wonder what they are thinking.

The weather has not been ideal here. A lot of cloudy and very windy days. Get out an enjoy regardless. Don’t let less than ideal conditions hold you back.

Horse on a Country Road

What to do when trying to get over a bad cold? Stay close to home and go out for short trips. Passed by this farm today on a very rural road that I had not been on before. It was raining on and off. It did not stop this horse from enjoying the great outdoors.

He seemed to not understand why I would not come closer.
Human, just ignore the sign. Of course I followed the sign.

Have a happy week! If you are in a country where you are experiencing freedom, count your blessings.

Eastern Screech Owl

What do on your week off when you have a bad cold and don’t want to spread your germs? For me I spent the last two days of my vacation driving up and down rural roads looking at tree holes for owls.

Screech owl eyes slightly opened

One one rural road I kept hearing a call of a saw whet owl. I felt like it was teasing me. I have heard they usually hang out at our eye level, but I had no luck and was not going to walk on private property to search further. I did know the direction it was coming from.

He was enjoying the sunlight. I would think the cold wind would have bothered him though.
The photos before this one he was in the top hole. Then he went inside the tree for a few minutes and then appeared at the bottom hole. This owl has a townhouse with two decks!

On another rural road that I drove up and down searching the holes I found one occupied by a screech. Screech owls are very small. Notice they block almost the entire tree hole and blend in with the tree so they are hard to spot.

It was a very windy day and the clouds came in so the lighting conditions also were not optimal. It was hard to keep my camera steady and this was near the top of a high area. I hope to return to this spot in the future hoping the wind level is less.

When you can,

go slow and stop along the way. You never know what you will find on rural roads.

Sleepy Snowy Owls

What do snowy owls do during the day? Most of the time by my observations they sleep or go between sleeping and waking up. A few times I have seen them fly to catch prey. The appear to be mostly sedentary during the day.

Owl after I arrived
Start of a yawn- owl before I left
Wide open mouth next to a log

I saw two different owls this day. This is the same owl when I arrived and before I left. I was there around 4 hours, but watching them maybe less than half of the time I was there. They appear to have remained in the same locations from the time I arrived until when I left. All the photographers seemed to be respectful and keep a distance.

Nature is fascinating. Enjoy it from a distance.

Male or Female Snowy Owl?

Can you tell if these are male or female snowy owls? At the website Allaboutbirds.org it says “Male Snowy Owls are barred with dark brown when they’re young and get whiter as they get older. Females keep some dark markings throughout their lives. Although the darkest males and the palest females are nearly alike in colour, the whitest birds—including the ones that played Harry Potter’s Hedwig—are always males and the most heavily barred ones are always females.

#1 on a log
#2 on the end of the jetty
#3 on the land end of a jetty
#4 in a tree

These four separate owls were all in the same general area , not far apart, on a beach one day. Some of these owls may be juveniles, born this year in the Arctic and may still be changing in colour. What do you think? Which ones are female and are any male?

Snowy Owl on Jetty

It was not a good day light wise, but we are having cloudy and rainy conditions all this week it appears. However, this trip I saw four snowy owls. Below are pictures of one of them. I know there were four because I was watching one not far away, then two flew in to hang out at opposite ends of a jetty, shortly thereafter a fourth flew in and hung out on a nearby tree.

This female snowy owl flew in to hang out on the end of jetty for a while.
She did not like this wave. She got splashed then took off.
On to other places.

Even when you think the weather may not be ideal get out , explore, and enjoy nature. You may be pleasantly surprised.

Screech Owl Holiday

Which owl is a year round NY resident is tiny, and it is well camouflaged and hard to spot in the wild? It’s the Eastern Screech Owl.

This is one owl I have yet to come across in the woods and would like to see. However, I know it will be difficult, so when given the opportunity to see one up close I jumped on it.

Yes, this one is real.

These owls are short and stocky with almost no neck. They can be mostly gray or mostly a reddish brown colour. Notice the one above is about the size of a pine cone.

They camouflage well against tree bark. Their size and colouring make them difficult to spot. People have been able to sight them at the hole in the tree they reside in. They tend to block the tree hole and blend in well with the bark.

Diet

According to Birdfeederhub.com their diet includes songbirds, mice, rats, moles, squirrels, insects, earthworms, and lizards. The ability to take down a squirrel or rat surprised me given their size.

Greenburgh Nature Center

I viewed this owl at the Greenburgh Nature Center. This nature center has a variety of trails, programs, and events on a 33 acre nature preserve. They take care of some birds of prey. They currently have eagles, hawks, a screech owl, and a great horned owl. These birds cannot be released into the wild due to an event such as a collision with a car. Sites such as the Greenburgh Nature Center receive birds determined to be non-releasable from wildlife rehabbers who cared for them right after the event in which they were injured.

No, I did not put a hat on this owl. I photoshopped this one in with my very limited skills.

The Greenburgh Nature Center is located at 99 Dromore Road in Scarsdale, NY. It is a short drive north of New York City in Westchester County. To learn more click on the link below:

It is the season of giving. Support your local wildlife rehabbers and places like the Greenburgh Nature Center. These places help us learn more about wildlife, provide us an opportunity in some cases to see wildlife up close, and help animals in need. Happy holidays!

Snowy Owl on Log

After the hunt and a meal this snowy had bloody feet that it was cleaning.
Looking tired. Not sure what it ate. These owls will hunt during the day.
Tired after a meal and washing up.

Not sure what this snowy owl ate. I have yet to see it with prey. One time I saw one fly into the grass. It appeared to have caught a mouse or other small animal, but we could not see through the grass.

Get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Keep a distance from the wildlife.

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