18 January 2015
Just as it was last year, 2015 is turning out to be a year when Snowy Owls Bubo scandiacus have moved south in considerable numbers. Apparently when this phenomenon happens in two consecutive years it is called an echo year. I had not previously heard this term but it seems pretty appropriate so I will use it!
The owl shown in this picture was the third one I have seen so far this winter.
It was located in Bronte Harbour where I have seen Snowy Owls in the past, so the habitat there is evidently to the liking of snowies spending the winter here. This individual appears to be a large female and seems to have captured prey, although I am unable to discern exactly what it is.This picture was taken from around a hundred metres away from the bird. The prey item appears to be furred, although I suspect the principal source of food for the owl is waterfowl, which are present in abundance.
The temperature was quite mild, hovering above freezing for most of the day, but it was a benign interval in what has been a fairly cold snap lasting a couple of weeks.
The following two pictures give an idea of some of the ice formations along the lake.
These Mallards Anas platyrynchos were congregating on the ice in between bouts of dabbling for food in the shallow edges of the water.
As mentioned above, a variety of waterfowl was present in abundance and the following pictures represent just some of the species.
|Common Goldeneye Buchephala clangula|
|Redhead Aytha americana|
|Male Red-breasted Merganser Mergus serrator|
|Common Mergansers Merganser merganser|
|Male Long-tailed Duck Clangula hyemalis|