One of our favorite bird guys stopped by Audubon to pick up the calendars he had ordered. It was late afternoon and the meetings were over and I was just finishing a project… So when he suggested we go see if the Snowy Owl was still working the field up the road, I said, “Yes!”
Before we could even hop into the truck, we heard, “Coo coo coo…” Looking up there was a HUGE flock of Tundra Swans – Don estimated it at 180 birds – flying just overhead. I’ve heard lots of Tundra Swans this fall – often they are flying above the clouds, though, and I don’t get a chance to see them.
We climbed into Don’s truck and drove off.
First stop, the corner of Route 62 and Riverside Road where TWO Rough-legged Hawks were active – one light morph, the other dark. We watched as one pounced on something in the field, then flew to a tree where the other sat – then took off heading toward the Audubon sanctuary.
Next we drove around the Kiantone-Stillwater area where the Snowy Owl has been seen. We saw a Red-tailed Hawk in a tree in the swamp along the road that connects Route 60 to Peck-Settlement Road… But alas, no Snowy Owl.
We both had time, so Don suggested we drive up to airport hill where owls have been reported. Within minutes of arriving a Snowy Owl flew up from the edge of a fence and out to sit in the middle of the field. I suspect it must have found food. It sat there for a bit, then up onto the fence post where it posed so prettily it made me wish I had my camera!!
Then I spotted another large bird flying over the field. Darker than the Snowy… Have you guessed??
It was a Short-eared Owl!
On the way back, we chatted about other winter birds I’ve never seen and Don gave me hints of where to find them.
It was such a wonderful day of winter birding. Thanks, Don!