Thursday, November 30, 2006

Great Gray Owls for Susan

Here's a post for Susan Gets Native. Hope it brightens you day Susan!
The winter of 2004/2005 was an irruption year for Great Gray Owls and Northern Hawk Owls in Minnesota. In January 2005 I boarded a motor coach for my first ever guided bird trip. The trip was originally scheduled to head up to the Sax Zim Bog area in northern Minnesota. But by that time, there had been sightings of these owls from the boreal forests much closer to the Twin Cities. The tour leaders were great. I was a little anxious, never having gone on a bird trip before. They were generous with their knowledge and their bird id guides. Did we see owls?
By the end of the trip we saw 80+ GGO's! All of my pictures were taken through the bus windows. The stress on the birds was kept to a minimum. When the bus stopped for a longer look, the driver stopped a distance away, hopefully to prevent interfering with the owls' hunting. These were the MOST beautiful birds I have ever seen!
I know this is not a great picture but it's the only one I got of the single Northern Hawk Owl that we saw that day.
So here you go Susan, I hope your day is better.
Grab LauraH and anyone else that wants to and come on up to Minnesota this winter. We'll go hunting for OWLS!!!


LauraO said...

Wow - fantastic pictures. And what an experience. I've never seen great grays. I'm jealous.

NatureWoman said...

Very cool owl photos Lynne!

Susan Gets Native said...

Lynne, God love ya. Those pics made me smile, on a day I didn't think there would be much smiling.
I am still working on Lovely Miss Laura. She wants to go, I am sure, but the technical aspects of all that travel for a day or two is making her pause....but between you and me, maybe we can get her! Still up to being our chauffeur?

Lynne said...

LauraO and Pam-
Thanks- it was such a cool experience.

Am I still up to being your chaufeur? Ya sure- you betcha!

Do you hear that LauraH???

LauraHinNJ said...

How cold is it there in February?


They are soooo beautiful. And that Hawk Owl - wow!

How about you bring the owls with you and visit me in NJ?

Lynne said...

It's not that cold, really...
My car has a good heater! I'm sure Birdchick's trip will have a nice toasty motor coach too!

Come to NJ? Actually I've been thinking about going to Cape May Autumn Weekend next year!

samtzmom said...

How very beautiful Lynne! Thanks for sharing!

Mary said...

These photos are wonderful, especially the third one! I'd love to see an owl up close... Thanks for sharing!

Endment said...

What a fantastic trip!!! I have yet to see either a Great Gray Owl or a Northern Hawk Owl (except in photos :)
I am glad you shared these great photos

LauraHinNJ said...

You should come - the weather is usually nice! Imagine the fun it would be!

Deb said...

That was such a magical winter for me; it seemed I could not go anywhere without seeing at least one great gray. I only saw one hawk owl the entire winter, though, and I had to go looking for it.

swamette said...

I absolutely loved the owl picture. I have viewed a lot of animals in the wild but I haven't seen an owl like the one you photographed. The third picture is the one I am talking about. Swami liked it also. Swamette

-llm. said...

Gorgeous pics, Lynne. Thanks! And, it triggered a memory of a dream last night. I dreamt that I saw an owl across the street. I grabbed my daughter and pointed it out -- it was on the ground and as it turned around, we realized it was a dog. I felt so foolish.

What a funny dream -- thanks for showing me the real thing! I'm guessing there was some of my nervous "I'm not a very good birder" anxiety coming out in my dream but sheesh I'm fairly sure I can tell an owl from a dog! :)

Lynne said...

Thank you- they are beautiful!

Mary- the third one is my favorite too.

endment- It was a trip I'll never forget.

LauraH- It would be a blast to go!

Deb- I don't immagine we'll have a winter like that again. We saw few more GGO's up around Hasty and I even saw 2 down here in the Twin Cities! One was at the New Hope golf course and the other in a park in Plymouth!

Swamette- Thank you for visiting here! It was a special trip for me.

llm- I'm often uncomfortable with the "birder" label. For me it's fun to id birds, but mostly I just like to watch them. Listing takes second place behind watching birds be birds.

pablo said...

That middle photo is amazing. Owls must be lightweight for that slender limb to be able to hold them.

Sandy said...

What great shots! That must of been some trip.

lené said...

Lynne, you have some outstanding owl shots. After hearing about all of the owls you've seen, it makes me wonder if I just don't have the eyes for them. I don't know that I've seen a single one.

Prairie Chick said...

Your photos are beautiful-we don't see too many owls in our area.

How is the bun bun doing?

mon@rch said...

O MY! ! Love your Great Gray shots! I only hope one day to come across one of these! Minnesota is too far for a road trip!