Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Christmas owls

Merry Christmas!

At the beginning of December, I came out to Boundary Bay to see if I could get bragging rights to seeing the first of the snowy owls.  The skies were clear and daytime highs were -4, making for some impressive views out to Mount Baker.

It was cold enough to freeze the mid-to-high tide lines to a slushy layer, giving the fantastic illusion of a frozen sea.

Maybe because it was too cold for the voles to come out, or maybe the birds don't like the dry frigid air blowing past their eye balls, but owls of any sort were nowhere to be seen, and only a few hawks prowled the marshes.
Cooper's hawk

Great weather for our dog

Three weeks later, and throughout most of the country, the weather has gotten colder.  Here, on the west coast of BC, it has gotten warmer.
The west coast of BC was one of the only places hospitable enough to go birding today in Canada.  The skies were overcast in our part of the world, but dry.
Great Blue Heron

Northern Harrier

Trumpeter Swans

A Northern Harrier, munching on a carcass thrown over a fence by a photographer (not me!)
 And the highlight of the trip, seeing the snowy owls.  The pair were a bit distant, hanging about on the rooftop of a building nearby - one of the last places I'd look - but the best technique to finding rare birds is to look where other cameras are aimed.

The ever-laughing snowy owl

The short-eared owls made an appearance today as well