Saturday, September 09, 2006


The late afternoon sun was in our face as Paul and I walked out from Commonwealth Lake when. The owl swooped across the forestry road and up into a spruce tree about 30 meters away. "Northern Hawk Owl," I wondered, since I knew these owls to be diurnal in there feeding habits and the bird looked to be about the right size. The owl landed about 25 meters up the tree, and the 35 to 80 lens on my Canon was not the right tool for a good view that far away. I took some shots anyhow, but with the sun behind the bird, good images for identification were more wishful thinking than likely. I walked slowly toward the bird and took shots every five meters or so and eventually managed to have the sun behind me with a good view, albeit with the bird still too high up for easy identification. I took about twenty still shots and then set the camera to take some rapid sequence fast shutter shots in case the bird flew. I must speak owl because the bird did just that and I managed one good shot for identification purpuses. Back home I zoomed in on the not too crisp hand held images. They proved good enough. The tiny ears, the relative "absence" of the neck during flight, and the black elbow markings on the underside of the wing identify this as a Short-eared Owl, a first for me.

Autumn comes early in the mountains. Clouds of dryads lay along the trail . The silky plumes had unfolded and were only waiting on a good breeze to scatter the seeds to new homes

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