Snowy Owl Bubo Scandiacus
26 December 2013
We had to go into Toronto this morning, so as soon as we had finished what we needed to do we started to bird along the north shore of Lake Ontario, heading westwards in the direction of Waterloo.
Our first stop was at Colonel Samuel Smith Park in Toronto, a location where we have located Snowy Owl in the past, but today, other than for a few gulls, we literally could not locate a bird! We left after a relatively short stay and meandered along the lake stopping at various spots we thought might be productive. Nothing, however, surpassed our time spent at Bronte Harbour. Within minutes of starting our walk Miriam spotted a Snowy Owl on one of the docks where boats would be berthed in season.
|The docks at Bronte Harbour|
It has been our experience that Snowy Owls often favour this kind of habitat. It is quiet, pretty much undisturbed, and its flatness possibly bears some resemblance to the regular tundra habitat of this species. The normal diet of Snowy Owls comprises rodents almost exclusively but I assume that rodents would be a scarce commodity in these surroundings. There is an abundance of waterfowl, and perhaps a switch in diet occurs at this time of year, for an injured duck would be easy prey for a hunting Snowy Owl.
In any event, we were quite thrilled to see this bird - probably a female judging from its size, but possibly a juvenile. Any sighting of this magnificent hunter from the far north is always a very special event.