A lovely spring day. Great to be alive and birding.
We drove down from home via Smiths Falls and took a drive through Chaffey’s Locks. We saw Trumpeter Swans and a few Canada’s in the water at Chaffey’s. A lovely adult Bald Eagle and a Northern Shrike on the drive to Hwy 10.
We caught the 10:30 ferry and a few gulls were on the ferry channel, mostly Ring-billed with a few 2 + 3rd year Herring Gulls. Mallards and Canada Geese were also seen.
We did not see many raptors on the island, only 1 of each, Rough-legged, Red-tailed and Kestrel. Ring-necked Pheasants seemed to be very active. No Snowy Owls were seen. The water on the south side of island is completely open and we saw many Common Mergansers, Scaup, Buffleheads and Redhead Ducks.
We walked into the woods from South Shore Road. It took about 25 minutes to get to the woods. The road is still mostly snow covered but lots of soft mud also. Water boots are needed in spots and next week, you’ll need them to get around the trails in the woods.
Not much at the feeders, we had some seeds and had fun for a while feeding Chickadees, they mobbed us. We saw 1 of House Finch, Common Redpoll and Tree Sparrow.
While at the feeders we heard a pheasant cackle close by, I decided to have some fun. Taking out my Ipod, I played a Pheasant call. Soon we had a lovely male coming in…very nice to see.
Continuing on. There was only one small owl found in the woods but while walking we did flush a large owl. I didn’t really get a good look but from the size, I would say it was a Barred Owl.
I walked right by the owl in the tree, I was looking left and totally missed this bird. Luckily my friend Rick (eagle-eyes) had my back. His first owl, on his first trip into the woods. He must have had a good guide.
The images below were taken with my 300 mm f4 lens with a teleconverter. The first image (taken at 70mm) shows just how many branches are in the way but by looking at the bird from all angles and openings, a decent unobstructed image can be had. The others taken from same distance but using 300mm and 500mm (300 + 1.7 teleconverter) lens.
Ciao for now…….
A very enjoyable day capped off by a close encounter with the snowy!