I had an incredible weekend all centred around wildlife in Bragg Creek. There was a heron, some geese, a couple of beavers, a coyote, a moose and even a crane that I had the opportunity to watch for varying amounts of time. But the owl encounters were what made the mornings and evenings so special for me. It started a couple of days earlier with my first Great gray owl time this spring where I photographed one hunting at night. Then I was able to find two other adults hunting, each in a separate location.
Of the three owl pairs that I have photographed for the past six years, all are represented in their respective regular haunts. There was a male Great gray owl killed in an apparent collision with a vehicle in that area a couple of weeks ago so I suspect that one of these couples is without its mate. That loss had brought great sadness so it was uplifting to see the others hunting and doing what they all should be doing. I suspect the lone female will not raise chicks this year but it could have been an owl passing through the area that was struck so maybe all three pairs will have broods. I have never scouted out any of the nests as I need to learn much more before I feel comfortable getting close and knowing I will not adversely impact the chicks. So, I may never be able to confirm which, if any, of these pairs lost their partner.
… back to the uplifting part – I’m really excited about the photographs from the weekend as the owls were unperturbed by my presence and stayed visible for long periods of time while successfully hunting in the forest and the fields. It was a lot of unbroken time where I was able to be a part of their environment. So lucky for me! I will post a few entries of the individual encounters and start today with the Friday evening where one of the owls was hunting in a small opening in the forest. I watched as he flew between fence posts and perches on stubby trees. His attacks into the tall grass were hidden from my view but I had great chances to capture his flight.
This entry was posted on April 13, 2015 by Christopher Martin. It was filed under Nature, Owls, Wildlife and was tagged with alberta, animals, birds, bragg creek, Canada, flying, Great Gray Owl, owls, strix nebulosa, wildlife photography.