Saturday, January 21, 2012

Short-eared Owls @ Pt. Mouillee - 18 Jan 2012

Horned Lark - dry brush filter (©2012 J.S. Jourdan)
On Wednesday evening I took a ride out to Pt. Mouillee to look for Short-eared Owls along Haagermann Rd. and the antennae farm.  The ground was free of snow, but it was cold!  Horned Larks were actively singing in the field next to the road, and I made a couple of attempts to try to photograph them w/ the D300s and 300/2.8 VRII and Better Beamer.

I spent some time near the corner of Labo Rd. and Haagermann Rd. thinking that the owls may be roosting in the woodline next to the antennae farm.  However, I got nervous since my view of the east side of the farm near US Turnpike was obscured, so I slowly cruised in that direction.  I stopped the car next to the only tree along Haagermann, and waited 10 - 15 minutes to see if any owls would appear.  I then moved the car farther east and got out to look around. No sooner did I leave the car that a Short-eared Owl appeared near the tree!  It flew low in the twilight and disappeared over the fence and into the antennae farm.  I quickly drove back to the edge of the fenceline and hightailed it over to the fence.  There I spotted the owl sitting in the grass about 100 yds. away. It was now about 6 pm.

A second Short-eared Owl appeared moments later and the two started to tussle in flight.  I could hear the two birds barking as they flew, circled and tussled in the air.  They then settled down in the grass as the light disappeared.  Knowing that they wouldn't be getting any closer I took my frozen fingers back to the car and headed home.   Even though I got no photo opps, I thoroughly enjoyed watching birds through the binocs!

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