Saturday, December 16, 2017

Cold and Snowy in Canada

A quickly planned trip to Canada in winter? Sure. Why not. That was the gist of the phone call that I got from Todd while I was in Seattle last week. Now, we are freezing our asses off in Canada looking for winter birds and wildlife. This probably sound nuts to most people but it is a "normal" trip for birders. Our destinations are all in Ontario. We started on Amherst Island near Kingston.

Todd arrived at our house at 3 AM on Friday. We were well into upstate NY by the Canadian border by 8 AM but we had a problem - the windshield washer wasn't flowing. Big problem since we were driving through snow and salt and grime on Interstate 81. We found a service station near Ft. Drum NY. They figured out the issue and had us back on the road in about an hour. You should ask Connie to tell you what the issue was. Let's just say - I told her not to fill the washer tank with plain water and leave it at that. Even with the delay, we were on the ferry to the island before noon and had all afternoon to explore.

We found our first Snowy Owl about 1/4 mile from the ferry terminal and counted about a dozen over the next few hours. They were literally everywhere. The second owl that we found was sitting in a gnarly tree.

Then we found this one sitting on a fence post against a dark and stormy sky.

Just when we were thinking that all of the owls would be really far away, we spotted this one perched on a telephone pole a bit closer to the road.

We watched this bird fly down into a farmer's property and snatch something from between the hay bails. He sat there proudly clutching his prize.

When suddenly, another Snowy Owl flew in and attacked him knocking him off of the hay bail! The interloper screamed like a mad man.

Finally driving off the owl that had the prey. You can see that the first owl no longer has anything in his talons. He flew off beyond the farm.

The interloper took up position on the telephone wire right in front of us.

All of this happening with us in and out of the car and the farmer moving hay bails around the farm with John Deere tractors. Amazing!

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