One morning in February Geoff Carter and I stood watching a Northern Hawk Owl in Ottawa and waiting for it to come closer to us. After two plus hours we were able to watch it playing with or being harassed by ravens, try to hunt twice and generally hang out on the very tops of a trees.
This is a collection of my best bird images for 2017. For me 2017 was a pretty good year for bird photography.
Canadian Camera Conference 2017
I helped lead a photo outing to visit Osprey nests and Heron Rookeries. I made several scouting trips to prepare and then lead the group to two heron Rookeries and two Osprey Nests.
Best Bird Images from Mud Lake
During the year I made multiple visits to mud lake. I started early in the year and returned many times.
I found a new location in Kanata and how I found it is a funny story. I saw posts on Facebook from a local photographer that contained multiple Herons and I send them a private message asking where the photo was taken. They answered back that they did not want to share the location so as to not encourage disturbing the birds. That was a bummer. Then I thought how many ponds are there in Kanata? A Google maps search found nine candidates. I took a day and visited all of them, starting with the most remote figuring if it was such a sensitive place it had to be one hard to get to. Turns out it was the one near a busy intersection with main roads on two sides and the remainder surround by houses and next to soccer fields and children’s play structures. The whole thing has a paved trail around it and a bridge over the middle. The entire time I was at the location there was a constant buzz of traffic, constant joggers and dogs and happy children. I even had dogs off leash come up and visit with me while I was on the waters edge observing the birds. Yeah this is not a secret location that needs protecting. You can find it here: Monahan Drain
This Valentine’s day the RA Photo Club organized a trip to Wolfe Island (near Kingston). Nearly twenty of us were up well before dawn and on the road by 0600 for the trip to the ferry. We spent a very productive morning moving around the western part of the island we saw many snowy owls and stopped to photograph each one. I lost count of the number of snowy owls we saw. After stopping for lunch we headed east. A few of us were separated from the main group and we did not see any more Snowy Owls but we did see some deer and various hawks. Unfortunately neither the deer nor the hawks were as accommodating as the Snowy Owls were from the morning.
Several times during the morning an owl would sit for a while with us taking its picture and then it would fly a short distance away. We would regroup and it would eventually fly back to its original perch. A few of the owls did not want anything to do with us and just flew away as soon as we stopped our cars but most of the owls were quite content to watch us watching them. The weather was very cold but for some reason there was nearly no wind. That made all the difference, that and the fact that we were very well bundled up meant for as comfortable a winter outing as can be expected. It was well worth the trip.
The photographers in action
This is the view form the other side of the Snowy Owl I was photographing. We sometimes blocked the road but luckily there was very little traffic. I only had to call “CAR” twice all day. This is the group photographing the owl sitting in a tree. We were in the last car and were a bit behind the group so when we caught up the owl had just flown away from the trees and the group followed her to the hydro pole up the road. We just stayed and watched and sure enough she left her pole and flew back to the trees were we were setup and waiting.
I spent a day with some other photographers from the RA Photo Club near St. Isidore Ontario taking pictures of snow geese. We started our search near the sod farm near the 417 highway. We watched them fly in overhead but very few snow geese landed on the sod farm. We could see that the snow geese were coming down near by. After some scouting around we found them first in a small field north of the sod farm. After they flushed and left we had a break at the local Tim Horton’s and then headed towards Winchester. We found another flock of snow geese in a field near the road and spent some time photographing them. Then we found a very large flock of snow geese on the water treatment ponds near Winchester but were not able to get very close. Later we did find a large flock of snow geese on the water in a near by quarry. This time we got much closer. They filled the sky when they flushed!
On January 25th 2014 I went with other members of the RA Photo club on a trip to St. Isadore to look for snowy owls. We saw only two in part because it was a foggy day. One was in a tree next to the highway. This one was very relaxed perched on top of some rocks in a field. She let us take her picture until we were too cold and left.
Over the next few weeks I have been looking for snowy owls near the airport but have only see her perched on top of utility poles or bill boards. This past week I was lucky to find one near Wall Rd. and I got a few more pictures.