Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

Meadow Mueller 07/2003 - 04/2015

March 28, 2016

Easter Fowls N Owls

Interesting long weekend for me. Angie is away in Alberta and when she's away I just never really know how my time alone is going to turn out.

The last few years in the fall when she is off with her girlfriends at the Briars, usually around the same weekend in October, I always manage to find my first Owl of the season. Last year it was a Barred.

The year before 2 Saw-whet Owls in one park. Way cool but not saying that Angie needs to go away more often.

I will admit there was some dragging moments this weekend. My sleep has been off for almost a week now. Waking up after 4 hrs is brutal yet if I can get 5 solid hours, I can pretty much function the next 18 or so hours with ease. The weather at this time of year is up and down, the bird sightings are a few winter stragglers and early Spring migrants. I'm not going on any big bird chases so it's mostly the same in all the parks around us.

This blog will have 4 mini tales in it. I will do my best to keep them as short as possible.

Fowl Tale #1...

I stopped in a nearby park/pond area. I enjoyed the number of returning male Red-winged Blackbirds and singing Song Sparrows (one of my fave calls in the early Spring). The Ducks here are quite accustomed to human traffic and especially those who come to feed them. Unfortunately 97% of the people feeding them are bringing in old bread and lots of it some days. I've seen bread tossed that I really wouldn't want to touch because of the mold on it. How can anyone think that is good food for a Duck?

So, I had a small bag of cracked corn and while the Ducks don't need it as the ponds aren't frozen over, I felt like tossing them some anyway.

Not long after this woman comes up to me and asks me what I am doing. "Uh, open your eyes lady!" which is what ran through my head. She wanted to know what I was feeding the Ducks. I explained to her that it was cracked corn. I then got this big speech about how wrong that is for them because it is not a natural food source. She told me to look around the park and find one corn patch anywhere in this park or any other park in Toronto. Before I could get into some sort of defense about this, she pulls out a plastic bag with a dried up old kaiser. How do I know it's dried up? Nobody comes down here and feeds them fresh buns and bread, it's ALWAYS the old crap in the kitchen they won't eat. I'm shaking my head and am "Yes, because bread grows on fucking trees lady!" There was no point in arguing with her because she was quite set in her ways and wouldn't give me a word in. I walked away.

In other arguments with people on this subject, I simply ask them if they could live on white bread and nothing else. Most still won't listen and do what they want. How does one think a moldy piece of bread is good for a Duck? Did I ask that already in this blog? I think I ask myself that many times through the warmer months when I see people do this.

Toronto needs more signs in the parks about not feeding the wildlife. Even keeping it simple, sticking to the whole bread aspect might help.

And dealing with these kinds of people, I found this...

8 out of 10 Facebook friends agreed I should have pushed her in the pond. But I just left.

Later that afternoon I visited another nearby park. I wanted to try and get some photos of singing Song Sparrows atop anything, just belting out their song. They were everywhere but never in good range for a photo. It was sunny and warming up to +6 or more by now. So nice! I ran into a new bird friend in the park and as we chatted, we found ourselves in the company of 2 sunning Eastern Screech Owls pretty much on either side of us... but some distance away. Way cool!

I blogged about these Owls last week. I had no intention on going to see them today but when they suddenly popped up, it certainly added to my visit to the park. Amazing how one minute they aren't there and another both show themselves. NOTE: I do NOT see them every visit.

As I left the park, I check my phone and there is a text from my friend Emily. She is asking me if I am going to help the injured Goose at the Stockyards mall near our home. I replied "Huh? What are you talking about?"

Long story short, if I can make this happen with this story is that someone called in about a Canada Goose on the upper parking level. It's stomach area was blood soaked, there was a large pool of blood in the parking lot and the bird was still bleeding as it moved about the parking area while getting beat on by two other Geese.

Next thing, my phone is ringing and it's Toronto Wildlife. Julia is calling me and asking if there was any chance I could try and help in this situation as their rescue team was having a very busy afternoon in other parts of the city, even as far up in Nobleton at this moment. She explained the situation to me and my heart started racing. Holy crap! First real rescue "attempt" for me since being an official volunteer with Toronto Wildlife, and I'm really only a volunteer driver. Somehow over the adventures I've had to put on the rescue title when arriving on scene to something not entirely of what the initial story came out as. From little Hawks turning into Godzilla sized Hawks, some contained wildlife not exactly being in travel worthy containers like open top boxes, buckets, garbage cans and other items that people wanted back. I've brought in broken winged Pigeons and window struck songbirds over the years, birds much smaller than a Goose. I've trapped Squirrels and a Raccoon... key word is "trapped" with traps and not catching.

As I spoke with Julia, I'm being a naughty person, driving rather quickly home to gather some things. I'm freaked out in my mind at the moment. My mind is racing faster than my truck with thoughts about the whole situation and how it is going to turn out. She told me where to go exactly in this very confusing rather new mall by our house. I told her I would call her when I got to the mall to get the info again since I'm driving and my mind is full of thoughts and still trying to determine what I have at home to get this bird in and bring him to the centre. I always have a kennel cab in the truck, with a heavy towel and some very good gloves; but no way the Goose is going to get in that kennel cab with ease.

I found an old tote in the shed that I've been wanting to discard as it once was a storage for peanuts until the Squirrels got in the shed, sniffed out the tote and chewed the hell out of the lid to get at the nutty goodness within. It seemed the best option for me, since it's a good size and the lid actually still locks on despite two rather large holes in it that the Squirrels got in/out of. I figure they'd be good air holes for the Goose.

I get to the mall. My mind is clearing, suddenly I am remembering where the Goose is according to Julia. This mall is not easy to figure out to anyone new to it but I cleared my mind, opened my eyes and found my way to the top parking level on the east side. Don't even get me to try and describe the set up of this mall, just go there yourself one day and see for yourself.

As I came around the bend on the ramp to the top level, I immediately saw the Goose. You didn't need to be looking for it to have it stand out with it's crimson soaked underside. People walked or drove past it with sadness on their faces, some stopped for a few seconds and then continued on. The bird was just walking around and anytime it neared a pair of Geese, those Geese would attack it. They knew it was unwell and also it being mating season, the pairs are very bonded and protective of everything.

I met the guy who called in about the bird. His name is Daniel (pretty sure anyway) and bless this man for calling TWC along with spending part of his Saturday afternoon sitting on this situation until help arrived. I felt sorry for him though because he got me as his help (a volunteer) and not one of the staff. But it's not like I've not done work with wildlife over the years, I do have experience in various situations and am loaded with care/concern and a lot of common sense which is probably the most important thing in moments with wildlife. This goes beyond "don't pet the cute cuddly Raccoon that is approaching you".

We talked briefly as I brought out the tote to have handy. I put my gloves on, grabbed a sheet and away we went. The Goose was on to us and wanted no part of being caught. He walked quick as we got close, sometimes he ran. We tried to corner him a few times and quickly realized the sheet was much too light to throw over the bird, especially from a 3rd story top level parking lot. The wind wanted to carry this sheet away. We did use the sheet to try and corral the Goose in an area we wanted it to head towards, like a corner where the stairwell was. Hoping the brick wall would aid us. At one point the Goose took flight, flying 50 or so feet back the other way. I thought "shit!" as now this really changes things. With the bird being able to fly, he could go over the wall and glide to the west parking garage... and a distance we certainly could not jump over.

At this point I don't know how long we were working on this. It felt like forever. We had a bit of an audience and I hoped no one was video recording this, especially at one point when I pretty much did a face plant. I quickly got up, thought nothing of what just happened and what I may have looked like to onlookers. I did say it more than once that I'm a volunteer driver and am trying to help on a very busy day.

We were getting the Goose to another end of the wall, towards the barrier and another stair well. There was a line of parked cars that I didn't think anything of in this moment but those cars were part of the end game (at this point, had no idea they would be). The Goose gets to the wall, starts to walk behind the line of cars and then chooses to go up between 2 of them. I'm behind the Goose and Daniel is at the front of the cars. I was thinking about tossing the sheet but suddenly just lunged down at the bird and grabbed him. I think my brain screamed "FUCK IT!" and my body went for it. No premeditation, I just did it, and it worked out perfectly. My grab was around the right area of the Goose, and holding his wings in to his body with this grab. I even managed to stay on my 2 feet. I certainly made up for the near face plant moments earlier!

It's a blur now but somehow the sheet got over the Goose, I think I found a third hand to do this; but maybe Daniel jumped in? It was a long walk back to the vehicles on the other end of the lot. I was a little jittery from my nerves and the adrenaline rush of this whole adventure. Daniel and I got chatting, both more than relieved that this ended in success. Some people stopped to congratulate us on the great catch. People were shocked to learn that Toronto Wildlife is full of dedicated caring volunteers and that there is little paid staff.

I thanked Daniel more than once for caring. He thanked me more than once for coming out to help. I said maybe I will see you again since we both live in the area, but hopefully not for something like this. He said hopefully over a cold one as the weather gets nicer. I bet we could easily enjoy a brew or two and talk about this Goose!

I finally called Julia at TWC now and was more than happy to inform her that I had the Goose contained and was on my way. I could tell she was more than happy with this news. I asked her if they had a stash of Jack Daniel's under the desk as I sure could use a shot to calm my nerves. Laughs were had and it was suggested that I wait until I got home later for such indulgence. Ya, good advice.

It's funny because when I first spoke with Julia about this situation, she told me many things besides where the bird was, she also gave me some pointers on catching the bird, how it would quickly submit when covered with a sheet or towel. I knew this already but in the moment I forgot and her repeating this to me did help. I kept saying to myself "cover his head and it's over, just do it". He stopped fighting once I covered him.

We are all wishing the Goose a speedy recovery. Initially I thought someone hit him with a car in the parking area just because there was so much blood. But the fact he could stand, run and even fly. Hmmmmmm?

I went home, I had a nap with the cats and as evening came upon us I decided to go out and look for other Screech Owls near our home. I was out the previous evening and chanced upon 2 birds in an old woodlot.

I returned to this spot with a bit of last light but saw nor heard anything. The Robins were drowning out everything else around me as they sang their evening song which they do through the season.

I spent about 45 minutes in this woodlot and was about to head for home. I start the truck up, put it in gear and as I am pulling out on to the main road, suddenly something in my head pretty much screamed at me to turn around and go up around the corner behind the lot. I thought about a promising cavity on a side road. Good thing I did because I saw this...

Holy moly! What a sight! I love the eerie light above the Owl's head.

This bird was whinnying away quite loudly. I watched 3 people pass the tree which is right along the road and not one person stopped to look where that odd sound was coming from. I'm in my truck, stopped up ahead from the tree. I point my camera out the window and snap a few shots. It's dark now. The only light is the street lamps.

As the Owl calls, I tune into a second Owl a few houses down. I can hear it but cannot see it in the cedars. Suddenly the first Owl takes flight, leaving this cavity and goes right for the cedars. I can hear the interaction between the 2 Owls, which were noises I had never heard before, and then there was movement followed by even stranger noises. The Owls were "mating".

A totally new experience for me!

So glad I can entertain myself with my wild friends while Angie is away. Who needs television?

The cats were some fun too.

And I finally got a Song Sparrow shot. It's the best I could get with a distant bird because even in my most still moments, they just weren't coming in all that close.

I really do hope someone sat through this whole blog. Sorry there are no photos of the Goose rescue. I half wish someone did snap my pic either in the moments of trying to catch it or when I was walking back to the truck with the Goose in my hands. I can only imagine what my face looked like, never mind my hair. LoL!

Thank you to anyone who endured my lengthy scribe this morning.


March 25, 2016

Allie n Me

Last weekend I had the pleasure of spending a few hours at the Toronto Sportsman Show, more specifically with the Canadian Peregrine Foundation and their educational birds.

It's great to just sit right up at the tables, having one of the birds on glove, and talking to the general public about these birds, the mission to help Peregrine Falcons in the GTA, or just shoot the shit about any and all birds. Sometimes I can teach someone something, sometimes someone teaches me something.

I love all the birds but my fave on the glove has to be Allie, or rather Alexandra the Great Horned Owl.

She's a big lovely girl and so chill. She just sits and takes in the world around her. Of course I am not her only friend and admirer but this is about me, my time with her, and the joy it brings.

A crap selfie from my lap...

I'm not one for talking in front of groups of people, I'm not one for getting my picture taken, but I forget my fears and don't really give a hoot about stuff when I am with her.

She is like an old friend I am more than happy to see once or twice a year.

It's Good Friday. I don't have a whole lot going on at the moment so I thought I would throw something on here about a recent event.

I do my best to publicize in advance when/where Allie is going to be, especially if I am there too. Maybe I will see some of you next time?

March 24, 2016

Happy I Got Out

The work week started off pretty busy, doing some extra hours both on Monday and Tuesday. The call came in again on Wednesday for another opportunity to work some more OT and I said "*expletive* that, I need to get out!" And that I did.

I knew Thursday the weather was going to turn for the worse. So more incentive to take advantage of a decent morning while I could.

I hit 3 local parks. It seems to be the way with me for a while now, not traveling far for birds unless we have to go somewhere for other reasons.

I don't care to list my fave haunts because they go rather unnoticed by the world and I am just fine with that. I like birds and wildlife, I like my alone time when I need it.

As you all know... I like to take photos, but I don't consider myself a photographer. Last Spring I ran into some guy at one of my spots and he's all super tech talk, and just wanted to talk cameras and shit while I wanted to admire 2 pairs of Hooded Mergansers that stopped in our pond for a couple days. I wondered if this was going to become a regular thing, seeing this guy, but he gave up. Not enough bang for the buck in this spot to keep him coming back. It's nice to have some "get away from it all" spots so close to home. The spots don't offer much outside of the usual suspects with the season, and many are hard to find without opening your eyes and ears, and shutting your mouth. This isn't just the reason that I don't advertise where I trek as you will see in the next paragraph.

First stop I was fortunate enough to see 2 Eastern Screech Owls. Not a surprise as I have seen the birds in the park a couple times already this year. One is a rufus morph. What I notice about this Owl is he is very skittish. He does not like being observed and quickly disappears in the box. I have to tread very lightly and not be so direct to see and try to take a photo as you can see below.

The second Owl is a gray morph. I believe this is the female of the two. She seems much larger in my observations. She also has a higher tolerance to human presence, from a respectable distance anyway.

The box the gray one was in is a further distance from where I stood compared to where I could stand with the box the rufus was in. Both are near full zoom and cropped photos. Does that make any sense?

It was a pleasure to see both Owls this morning. Normally if I spot them, it's one or the other. I had thought the Owl I was seeing earlier in the year looked different from one visit to another. I thought maybe it was the distance with the boxes, the lighting or ??? So it was more reason for me to take some photos because otherwise I may not have. Seeing a Screech Owl in a nest box like this doesn't give much more for photos than the first time around, the scenery is the same... exterior of the box. I was very thrilled when I got proof that there were two very distinct Owls around.

I know many people would love to know where this pair is, but it's Spring now, there is a very good chance they have a nest. No need to start a rush on these Owls and have one bad apple mess things up. Ask me my reasons in the fall for not giving up their home!

I made this up with one of the photos I took earlier in the year. I think it sums things up nicely.

I have been called "selfish" in the past for not divulging Owl roosts. I disagree. I sometimes think those calling me "selfish" may very well be just that themselves.

Next stop, chanced upon a male Wood Duck and he had a lady with him! I saw a lone male in this same spot a week earlier. Happy he's got a mate now. This is away from the famous Toronto spot in High Park which can draw some crowds.

Third stop as I ventured closer to home, I took notice to this partial leusistic American Robin snacking on some sumac. Lots of Robins showing up around us but this one sure stood out. The area was littered with dozens of returning Red-winged Blackbirds and Cowbirds too!

Some nice finds so close to home in such a short amount of time.

Then a little highlight at home, though not to many, was this male House Sparrow singing loud and proud atop this nest box on our pine tree. He was doing his best to bring in a lady. The song could be heard in our kitchen which drove our little blue Budge Moonie crazy. Moonie has to be louder than any other bird in ear shot.

I know so many who dislike the House Sparrows for one reason or another. I understand those with Bluebird nest boxes as one example even though it really is just a part of nature. We try to help one species in it's fight for survival and try to protect it from another. But really, I can't hate this little bird doing what nature tells him to do. It's instinct. It's not like he was the first one to fly over from the old world, with pure intent to mess up native birds in North America. We live in Toronto and while there are so many bird species that nest here, Sparrows do too.

You may recall a blog of mine a few years back when we had Chickadees nesting here, or trying to, and a pair of House Sparrows tried to take the same box. Long story short, I put a metal ring on the entry hole which reduced the size and allowed the smaller Chickadee access to the box but not the larger House Sparrow. The Sparrows still gave the Chickadees some grief until I put up another nest box about 30 ft away and all was well. Both raised families in peace and harmony. That Chickadee pair produced 5 young which all fledged from the box, and I was home to see it! Blog of that is here. Not tooting my own horn but it's one of my better story telling blogs on here with lots of photos. Friends still talk about this one. Check it out. Now! What are ya waiting for? This blog is done.

March 16, 2016

Mid-week in mid-March

March break is here, not that means anything to a guy like me. But it's mid-March already, the month is flying by (literally) and little by little the migrants are coming.

Red-winged Blackbirds and Grackles have returned. I'm hearing Killdeer at night in my travels or from the backyard.

This week has been rather wet and dreary but I'm still going for short walks in our neck of the woods. Best sight of the week so far is a male Wood Duck in a pond near our house.

Craziest most "unpeaceful" was watching 2 drake Mallards fight for a female. These guys would not stop! The whole ordeal was interesting to watch but started to kill my zen outing, so I moved on.

Saddest sight of the week, and hopefully the only sight as such, was stumbling upon this unwell Raccoon sitting out in the middle of the open space of the park, rain drops kept falling on his head.

At first I didn't think too much of the sighting, meaning all was well with him, and this was just one of those odd moments.

But as I moved in closer, and zoomed the camera, it was obvious he wasn't feeling the greatest.

People walked right past him, not even giving him a second glance. And I mean they "walked right past him" as in mere feet! I find this behaviour strange in some people. Cold hearted? Walking with blinders on and too focused on the day ahead? No stop to look on in admiration. No stop to look and see if the big animal is okay. No walking around the beast, keeping some distance. So ya, just weird to me. I guess zombies do walk the Earth.

The photo op was done now. I needed to investigate this situation. I walked slowly towards him and he just sat there looking at me. He wasn't doing anything, just looking. I got within 5 ft of him, give or take, and not a growl, snarl or sign of any fear came from him. His left eye was partially open. His rear right foot looked as if something bit it. It looked a tad bloody but hard to tell with the fur, the wetness of the rain, but it was discolored.

I made the decision at this moment to race home, which is 2 blocks away, and get something to hopefully contain him. I was leaving a message with Toronto Wildlife as I hurried back to the truck.

I get home, grab some items, and get back to the spot ASAP. No Raccoon! TWC were returning my call. I'm talking to them while I'm walking around and looking. I was gone no more than 10 minutes and in that time he vanished. I guess you can't help something that don't want the help.

Distemper could have been his ailment. Hard to say in my view of him because he was less zombie like than the people who passed him by. As I've mentioned in my blogs in the past, if there is such thing as an animal totem, the Raccoon would definitely be on mine somewhere near the top. I have a great ability to find these animals in my travels and seldom is there any negative vibe between us. Word must have gotten out after I saved that one from the dumpster so long ago?

I've been keeping an eye out for him since. What more can I do?

On a happier note, the ones that live down at the back of our property have risen from their winter slumber. First we saw 2, then 3 and on the weekend a 4th showed itself in the group. Mom and her kids from last year? I have read that they may overwinter with her that first year. They are all quite healthy looking. So many in our city have died horribly from canine distemper in the last while.

Many got a good chuckle out of this shot from the other Friday afternoon.

It's been quite a tale with this bunch. For much of last summer we were only seeing 2 of the kids. It seemed mom had abandoned them early on because she was seldom seen with them. Some of the visiting Raccoons I can identify which stuns most people. How do I know? Much like the Pigeons, some just stand out one way or another, either with their personality or some difference physically. Call me crazy if you don't understand, much like I call you crazy for knowing all your hockey stats and birthdays of your favorite players. Just sayin'

We called the 2 kids the orphans. That is how it looked to us. The rebels or the mischeifs is probably more appropriate. As the summer rolled along, we would see mom on her own, and on the rare occasion with another 2 kids. I now await a 5th to emerge but I'm doubting it. One of the Raccoon bunch is very small compared to the rest. Having 3 of the 4 survive is remarkable (if you like these animals).

I know this mom by her personality and there is something about her eyes, when I look at her, I just know it's her. She is so laid back and easy going as long as we tread lightly and respect her space.

As the weather warms up, it will be nice to watch them once again. I look forward to a new bunch of kids running around here getting into shit through the evening hours.

And especially after work on Whisky Wednesday!

Last night this guy and I were listening to some Coyotes yelping somewhere off in the distance.

Another rainy day ahead, maybe another walk in it just because I can.


March 10, 2016

2 Years With Mickey

Hey hey, another milestone around the "Mueller Woods" as my little friend Mickey made it along with us for just over 2 years now! I'm looking for any clue on Facebook about her exact or close enough to it date of first notice. I know it's within the last couple weeks.

This photo came up in the memories section the other day, which prompted me to do this blog.

I remember those first moments with her. She was quiet and gentle. She spent lengthy amounts of time with me on the back deck.

It wasn't long before moments like this were occurring. I just had to put my hand out to her and...

What a sweet little character she be!

Mickey is much smaller than Pierre. They usually don't get along. Pierre throws tantrums when she tries to come in for a feed while he's with me. Over time Mickey's quiet gentle demeanor disappeared in these moments. She became very vocal and physical too! I can only imagine the things she said to Pierre in those moments of the scuffle. She was not afraid to give him a few good smacks with her wings too. It is survival of the fittest (or hungriest) and Mickey caught on that being a little bitch sure helped her get ahead of the flock. You can catch some of the action in this video.

A pleasant moment with her and I.

Of course Pierre is number one with me and there are times I push Mickey aside. Yes she still gets fed but not the total VIP treatment like my boy. She deals with this, eats from the ground like the others and eventually gets some attention (and better grub).

I do look out for her in my daily backyard moments. She disappears for days at a time, sometimes weeks (or we just aren't crossing paths). But then suddenly there she is. I hold out my hand and in she comes. It's like no time has passed. I love these moments, it's just like meeting up some good old friends I don't see very often in our busy lives.

I can easily ID Mickey from a distance by her distinct eye ring, not sure what else to call it. It stands out to me. People often ask me how I can distinguish these birds in such large flocks. Pierre has his white spot, a beauty mark, on his right cheek. Mickey, it's her eyes. If anyone spent a lengthy amount of time with a flock of these birds, they too would find the little things about some of them that make them stand out in a sea of blue and gray feathers.

So celebrate with me on Mickey's little anniversary. She is one of the survivors in the flock. Keep going little one!

I did one of them silly ice bucket challenges and she joined me in the initial moments of it. See here.

March 3, 2016

World Wildlife Day

Today is recognized as World Wildlife Day. But for Angie and I, along with many of our friends, every day is just that. We love the wild world around us and appreciate seeing them in our travels.

I cannot imagine our backyard without any birds or mammals enjoying it with us.

Our yard March 2/16

Think about your own backyard, or if you don't have one, think about where you go in your daily travels. Surely you must see a Squirrel, a Sparrow, a Gull, something. Imagine they disappeared? Our lives get so busy that we don't see or hear everything going on around us, but I am certain that if even the most common House Sparrow suddenly disappeared, people would notice and miss their little chirps and tweets.

I always say the day I do not hear a bird sing is the day the Earth stands still.

So, on this day, and any other day, take a moment and think about the wild animals, the planet, is there anything you can do to help them or even just one?

It just happened to work out this morning that I will be driving 2 Big Brown Bats to Toronto Wildlife. The hibernating creatures were accidentally awoken from their winter slumber. As most know, Bats are insect eaters and suddenly coming back to life in early March would be deadly.

It's great that whoever stumbled upon them had mercy and wants to help them other than just dispose of these nasty beasts as far too many see it.

We'd love to have Bats visiting our backyard, feeding on the mosquitoes. Who could ever complain about that?

Crazy, 2 blogs in 2 days!

Thanks for stopping in...

Another backyard shot from last September. These photos take me to the summer nights and how much we enjoy sitting out back and waiting for the creatures to stroll through.

March 2, 2016

Snowy Owls, Time Outs and Whisky

I haven't got much else to go on about right now and thought why not do a quick blog about the Snowy Owl encounters I've been having this winter...

I've actually stuck to listing my encounters this winter. I started one last winter but gave up when a lull in the Owl encounters occurred over 6 weeks or so through December and January. I do wish I had kept up with that list for comparison.

I really thought it would be lacking this time around since the actual amount of Owls in the GTA is few and far between compared to the last 2 winters.

As of last night, that is where I am at with Snowy Owl encounters for this season. 34 in total with 23 in February. See, much like last winter, I had a lull in the early part with only 10 sightings in 3 months. I'm glad I kept at it this time around though. I do swear, well in my mind anyway, that last winter was much more. Now that February is over, I'm thinking this is probably pretty close.

I'm not going out of my way looking for these birds minus one back in November. There are some blogs from a few years back where I made it a mission to see as many Snowy Owls as I could, individuals, and got 11 one winter, 13 another winter, counting birds from different regions/parks, etc. Those missions were a lot of fun but time consuming and costly on fuel and other expenses overall. I'm really enjoying my "encounters". The Owls have all been after dark, most on my way home from work, or when I go out for a coffee on my 30 minute break from work. Last week I had 2 Snowys on break which is awesome with the short amount of time I have to myself on shift.

A few ask me why I waste my precious break time and go out. It's a time out from the grind. A 3 to 5 minute sit with a Snowy near where I park the truck is like a recharge. I forget work and any BS from the night in those moments. The Owls are much more active after dark, flying/diving/hunting and occasionally catching a meal. Such great sights sitting in the driver's seat of the GMC!

Digi-scope shot with my Blackberry and a crappy pair of binoculars I keep in the back of the truck.

I love this guy! He really takes me away for a moment.

I'm pretty sure this is him again, as it's on the same small stretch of road near the plant.

I made a post on social media the other week regarding my time outs with the Snowys. Can you add any more reasons to the list here?

I do like most of the people I work with. But with 8 hours a day at the plant, taking those 30 minutes to myself some evenings is much needed, and seeing a Snowy Owl is a blessing. I'm sure many of you will agree.

And it's made Whisky Wednesday all the better! More reason to enjoy some White Owl Whisky. It's Wednesday as I blog this... cheers to you all later tonight!