Friday, January 2, 2009

Owls turn heads in the Kawarthas

Northern Hawk Owl near Orillia
Snowy Owl near Fenelon Falls
Northern Hawk Owl near Buckhorn
During a day trip to Orillia, a few hours east of here, we thought we'd try to see both of two fairly reliable Northern Hawk Owls in the region. The more distant one, which has been seen for several weeks northwest of Orillia, wasn't visible on our first drive past, but when I returned an hour later on my way home, I saw it conspicuously perched atop a tall tree, about 300 metres from the road. It flew several times across the open field below, between the high perch and my stopped car. Once it landed in the snow after hovering like a kestrel. A Pine Grosbeak mobbed the owl for about 20 seconds, coming to within about five metres. The owl made no attempt to pursue its tormentor.

At midday, I relocated for the third time a second Northern Hawk Owl near Buckhorn - this one was less active and much closer to the road. Again, it was briefly mobbed by a Common Raven.

Between these two anticipated and much appreciated Northern Hawk Owls, we observed a mature Snowy Owl from some distance in a farm field on County Road 8, west of Fenelon Falls. Like the Yellow-headed Blackbird of yesterday, the sightings of the Orillia Northern Hawk Owl and the Fenelon Falls Snowy Owl are presented here "honourable mentions" as we saw them beyond 20 km. from Stony Lake.

No comments: