The Kingsville, ON Great Great Owl continues to be seen daily in the same area that it was first found just before Christmas. Robin and I had gotten some nice views and pics of it a week ago, but it was on the ground the entire time, and I was hoping to see it either in flight, or at least perched in a tree.
I had a few hours this morning, so I took the opportunity and drove across the bridge toward Kingsville. The owl's popularity was not lost on the Border Security; the custom's agent told me that it had put on quite a show yesterday! I arrived in Kingsville shortly before 9 am and found a group of photographers camped beside the road. They were photographing deer, and directed me down the road and around the corner where I found about 2-dozen vehicles and about 30 people crowded around a residential driveway. There, atop a small sapling next to the driveway was the owl. A group of photographers were lining the road on either side of the driveway, but everyone was keeping a safe distance from the bird, which was quietly perched and scanning the adjacent field.
It was extremely quiet, except when the owl would turn its head in our direction. Then all you could hear was the clicking of camera shutters and motor drives. It was really kind of humorous. At a distance of about 150' away I was digiscoping, so I was able to get near-full frame images of the owl w/ the Coolpix P6000.
After about 15 minutes the Great Gray Owl flew toward the back of yard and landed in the grass, where it sat for a few minutes in relatively tall grass. It then flew directly toward us and landed in the tree just 40' away.
I spent the next 10 minutes getting great views and images of the owl as it perched facing the crowd, and then turning so its back was to us.
From there it flew along the edge of the property next to the road, and then landed on a post just a few feet from the edge of the road. Folks immediately followed the bird up the road, but kept back behind cars and making sure not to spook the bird. I took a few photos of the bird from about 10' away, and decided that enough was enough. I headed back to the bridge, satisfied that the bird was not being harassed by well-meaning crowds. Hopefully it'll keep finding food until it gets itself back home.
While driving back toward the bridge a Red-tailed Hawk flew toward the car and landed atop a light pole next to the road. I was able to pull over and get a hundred or so images out of the window w/ the D300s and 300/2.8 VRII. Beautiful bird!