Great Gray Owl in Water Valley

Owl scout - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Water Valley is a lushly forested area broken up with farm fields, hills and streams.  Any one of these can attract owls so it is little surprise that many are seen in the locales between Cremona and Cochrane.  I drove along Horse Creek Road and the Grand Valley Road a few days ago to enjoy the countryside as well as see what wildlife I might find.  Near Cremona I found a Gray watching the grass in the front yard of a ranch from one of the fence posts.

On maze of old fencing - 2013 © Christopher Martin

By that time it was early evening so I set up my gear on the shoulder of the road and waited to see if the owl might start hunting.  It looked at me languidly a few times and I thought that might be the all there was to this sighting when it flew into the trees.  I was wrong.  It stayed in the woods for a few minutes and then came back to the fence again.

Onto the fields - 2013 © Christopher Martin

A minute later, it flew to a new post about 30′ from where I was sitting.

Flying postal - 2013 © Christopher Martin

From that point the owl started hunting and remained less than 100′ away for the next hour.  It proved to be adept at attacks into the long grass and grabbed five mice over that period.  The strikes onto the field creatures were impossible to photograph as the talons and head of the owl would disappear completely into a screen of pale yellow.

Attack! - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On prey - 2013 © Christopher Martin

That was only a very minor disappointment, being able to watch this master hunter at work was very enjoyable.

Great Gray Owl flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Flying along the fence line - 2013 © Christopher Martin

I had great opportunities to photograph the owl flying before night took hold.  In the image below it was quite dark so I needed a longer exposure to gather enough light.

Dusk flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Just as I decided to pack up and head home, a car came down the road and I snapped this last image with the help of the headlights.

Good night dear owl - 2013 © Christopher Martin

15 responses

  1. Karolyn Cooper

    Fantastic photos of the owl!

    May 4, 2013 at 10:57 pm

  2. awesome to capture something like that, it is usually hard to phtotgraph owls as they are nocturnal for the most part, by the way are great grey owls normally found around there? he is a beautiful bird

    May 4, 2013 at 8:41 am

  3. Speechless…really enjoy your work!

    May 3, 2013 at 9:55 pm

  4. Gorgeous. I wish I could have been there.

    May 3, 2013 at 7:27 pm

  5. So Majestic! Thank you!

    May 3, 2013 at 4:41 pm

  6. Reblogged this on bearspawprint.

    May 3, 2013 at 4:37 pm

  7. Wow…simply love these images.

    May 3, 2013 at 3:18 pm

    • I’m happy that you enjoyed these photographs.

      Thank you for taking the time to look and to comment.

      Have a great weekend.

      Cheers,

      Chris

      May 3, 2013 at 3:25 pm

      • Absolutely thrilled to be able to see them. The commitment you must make in order to capture these images is admirable. Your patience alone must be of super hero quality 😉

        May 3, 2013 at 3:28 pm

      • Thank you again. I’ve missed a lot of images when the patience has ebbed. That disappointment has helped my resolve to stay with it as long as required.

        It’s nice when it pays off.

        Cheers,

        Chris

        May 3, 2013 at 3:46 pm

  8. Awesome photos, the action shots are most impressive.

    May 3, 2013 at 3:08 pm

    • Thanks Dom – I’m happy you stopped in for a look. Come back anytime!

      May 3, 2013 at 3:11 pm

  9. Reblogged this on By the Mighty Mumford and commented:
    OOOO! GREY OWL!!!!

    May 3, 2013 at 2:49 pm

  10. Val

    Absolutely amazing shots, Chris.

    May 3, 2013 at 2:42 pm

    • Thank you Val. When the owls decide to humour me, it sure makes the photographing easier. Hope you are doing well in spring across the pond!
      Cheers,
      Chris

      May 3, 2013 at 3:13 pm

Your comments are truly appreciated - thank you for visiting.

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