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Monday, 24 February 2020

Real Royalty

      I really get tired of hearing all the drivel surrounding erstwhile royalty, and I wish the media would let it drop, and let these poor, pampered, underprivileged, hard-done by waifs vanish forever from the public consciousness. I am sorry they chose to move to Canada. Anywhere but here I say! Let others deal with a defrocked prince and a former starlet, a couple of have-your-cake-and-eat-it-too whiners, one of whom suffers from a severe case of silver-spoon-wedged- firmly-in-the-mouth-syndrome.
     Today, Miriam and I went on a quest for authentic royalty, true aristocracy, the real thing. Could I be talking of anything but a Snowy Owl (Bubo scandiacus)? I think not.
     It was a beautiful winter's day; an "Oh my, it's good to be alive" kind of day, and I think that these striking horses agreed with us.



     Living in close proximity to Mennonite territory horses in the field are common sights here, but rarely have I seen this pattern of black-and-white. The horses frisked and gambolled and nuzzled into the snow to find morsels of grass. They seemed nothing short of elated, a mood to match our own.
     Many churches are being abandoned due to declining congregations and this trend is especially noticeable in rural areas where there is a general exodus of young people into cities. 



     We could not decide whether this church has been abandoned or not. No path had been cleared to the door, yet the building appeared in good condition and seems to have even been recently painted. Perhaps it has been purchased for conversion to a residence as sometimes happens. 
     Large round bales of hay were in the fields, wrapped in white plastic, camouflaged in the snow.



     Horned Larks (Eremophila alpestris) were quite common as we drove along rural roads, rarely coming within photographic range, however.



     I have to tell you that Miriam has an exceptional ability to spot birds, and this talent seems to manifest itself especially with owls. It was she who spotted a white lump not too far from the road. She knew instantly it was a Snowy Owl.



     Moreover, it was a wonderful pristine white male. Such a glorious creature! Such a regal figure!



     Even princes have to attend to their toilette from time to time.



     A house nearby looked very utilitarian and could not lay claim to style or grandeur. A lone tree seemed a fitting companion.



     The wind had sculptured the snow drifts alongside creeks and ditches, forming beautiful curving shapes.





     Snowmobile trails showed evidence of recent use.





     I was glad that no machines were present with their clatter and roar to disturb the tranquility of our winter outing.
     We drove up and down rural roads that held great promise for flocks of Snow Buntings (Plectrophenax nivalis) but none could be found. 
     It was impossible to leave without bidding farewell to the Snowy Owl, who had not moved from the position where we first found him.




     May he have a long and productive life and father many offspring to bring joy to future dedicated observers.    

77 comments:

  1. Oh dear, David, fancy you not wanting these 'wonderful' royals living in your territory! I'm sure England won't miss them, and they certainly don't have any reason to be whining about how hard their lives are, wen so many people really are in need and have to live off a small fraction of what these people have. But you saw some really majestic sights. The fields are beautiful, and that snowy owl is fabulous. Glad you were able to have a good trip. Regards, Valerie

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  2. De très belles photos, magnifique chouette blanche, très royal en effet.
    Bonne journée

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  3. Not over fond of Harry & Megs then David? 😉 Never mind plenty of beautiful wildlife to take your mind off them.

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  4. Where did you move to Canada from and what about the real royalty?
    Sorry I can't understand you …
    What I do understand is that I really want to see such beautiful owls ... but so far I have not had a chance!
    Have a nice week full of adventure, mr. birdwatcher!

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  5. Hello David, the Snowy Owl is beautiful. Always a thrill to see one, you are lucky. I like the horses, Horned Larks and the scenery. Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week! Great series of photos! Enjoy your day, wishing you a happy new week!

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  6. Miriam has keen eyes, indeed.

    I am neutral about royals. If people like and want royals it is fine with me. If this couple wishes to live in my country, they are as welcome as anybody, as far as I am concerned.

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  7. Beautiful snow photos David, I love that snow owl, will you sent him to me ? Then I sent you some spoonbills.

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  8. Hello David,

    Beautiful photos! The Snow Owl is so pretty. I wish you a wonderful week ahead.

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  9. I think that the kids have been 'pulling your leg' David, with a well-crafted avian version of a snowman.

    Seriously though - what a fabulous sight! Who wouldn't be thrilled by such a vision?

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  10. Great to be alive day! May we all have more of those!

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  11. What a wonderful excursion through the countryside. And a snowy owl! Perfect!

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  12. Heerlijke beelden van in de sneeuw. Bijzonder de sneeuw ui prachtig.
    groet kees.

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  13. Never seen a white owl before, magnificent David!
    I like the little church and all the snowy fields.

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  14. Oh my gosh, the Snowy Owl reminds me of a snowman, it is so white and still. The snowdrifts also make beautiful art. Haha … as for our human visitors, I wonder if stepping into their royal shoes would pinch at least a little bit. :)

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    1. It might pinch a little bit, but I would not be constantly pouting and whining about it.

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  15. Amigo David, todavía me estoy preguntando cómo Miriam puede descubrir al Búho nival, es increíble la buena visión que tiene. No te puedes quejar amigo David, aparte del buen acompañamiento que llevas resulta es una experta para detectar aves blancas en un entorno de nieve ¡¡Increíble!! ¡¡Pero cierto!! Ese Búho, es una preciosidad tiene una estampa y un porte majestuoso. Creo, que aunque no pudieras ver los pájaros que te proponías ver, la mañana, se portó de una forma muy digna con ese ave en ese precioso entorno.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre y mis felicitaciones a Miriam, un beso.

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  16. Those Windsors are one invasive species that you'll have trouble getting rid of. They came here from continental Europe at a time when we thought we needed them, and though we manage to uproot an occasional one from time to time, mostly by marrying them off to American women, they breed so rapidly that I think we'll need some severe revolutionary action to dispose of them entirely.
    How on earth is Mariam able to tell Snowy Owls from just good old snow?

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    1. The part about breeding is so true. At a time when there is almost universal agreement that we need to reduce human populations the other brother already has three children - exceeding the replacement rate, let alone contributing to an ethical reduction.

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  17. Fiquei sem palavras.
    Lindíssimo.
    Aplaudo.
    Um abraço.💐
    Megy Maia

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  18. Hooray for Miriam's eyesight.
    And for the real royalty you found and shared.

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  19. I've never really understood the public's fascination with "royals," but I actually have quite a bit of sympathy for Canada's new residents. For Harry whose mother was essentially hounded to death by paparazzi and whose wife, as far as I can tell, has been trashed by the London tabloids from the beginning of their relationship. I suspect an element of racism there and a "She's not worthy" or "She's not one of us" attitude. I think it is probably very difficult living one's life always in the public eye and subject to vigorous analysis and criticism of the smallest infraction. Well, thank goodness that we do have REAL royalty like the beautiful Snowy Owl to distract us. Kudos to Miriam for discerning the white on white figure.

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  20. The snow jacket gives charm to the places, and the white owl is the perfect master.

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  21. Jag fattade inte först vem eller vad som gjorde dig så upprörd men så småningom ramlade polletten ned. Håller med dig, här skrivs också massor om paret och jag begriper inte vem som är intresserad av kungligheterna, låt dem falla i glömska.

    Men ni blev ordentligt belönade i vinterlandskapet med en riktig kunglighet, snöugglan. Mycket väl kamouflerad i den vita snön, måste till en expert för att alls upptäcka den, fina bilder som Miriam tagit.

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  22. Hi David,
    You can keep our fleeing Royals and the snow, neither of which would be welcome. But you could send some Snowy Owls , such a beautiful bird, super images Miriam.
    All the best,
    John

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  23. I have three kids and 4 grandkids. They all have a purpose in life. Some will be scientists, the others will bring great joy whatever they do.
    I think you are harsh on the royals. Live and let live. They have faced such racism from those in England. We can try and give them a chance for a more normal life here. I didn't hear the whining, you write of.
    I enjoyed your owl. We haven't seen one this year.

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  24. Fabulous photographs, the owl is majestic.

    All the best Jan

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  25. ...don't hold back David, how do you really feel?

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  26. I don't think I would have picked that blob out as an Owl...Awesome eye is for sure...and what a lovely bird.
    I guess a coat of Jewels is a heavy burden to wear at times no matter where they live.

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  27. Great shots of the rural countryside and wonderful shots of the Snowy Owl!

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  28. The snowy owl was the real find of the day.

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  29. What a gorgeous wol. Clever Miriam for spotting him. Sorry, I always call them wol's after Christopher Robin. Your pictures of the countryside are absolutely marvellous I envy you getting out and about and particularly envy you seeing that gorgeous bird. He really is white, are the females the same? Pity you couldn't bring him home.

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    1. Hi Jo: The female is quite heavily marked. I will send you a picture of a female tomorrow.

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  30. Oh my, how gorgeous is that owl, and he's smiling :)
    Love your photos.
    Seems you are having trouble with the Royals in the newspapers - didn't know that!

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  31. Hi David.

    It is beautiful there.
    Beautiful the snow.
    That Snowy Owl is beautiful.

    Greeting from Patricia.

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  32. Hi David - I'm rather fond of the royals ... well til the recent burst of challenges. They are part of our tradition and culture ... and personally I'd miss that side of life - sort of brings me home. Don't ask me why ...

    Your Snowy Owls are just wonderful and that chap is quite excellent ... he does remind me of a snowman - as one or two others have said ... but he is one very handsome snowy owl ... so white and pure. I also love the horses ... and wonder what they're called - probably a specific colouration, which they're trying to keep.

    Love the photos and the scenarios ... excellent photography - cheers Hilary

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  33. What a joy to see your stunning photographs, the horses and the owl were a delight to see.

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  34. Every time I see a photo of a snowy owl, I realize I'm holding my breath. They're just stunning. We have any number of pleasing and beautiful birds, but to see one of these in its snowy environment? I can't imagine anything better.

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  35. I think if I saw that gorgeous owl, I would die. Especially in the snow like that -- the white on white. Go, Miriam! What a fine spotter you are to not think that a lump of snow-covered ice! Well done! All the photos are beautiful and remind me of what beautiful country lies in your neck of the woods. I'm curious about the church -- and love the horse image, too. The snow (never a favorite to BE in) certainly makes for a gorgeous backdrop of wonderful patterns, shapes and images. As for the royals, I find them intriguing and their history. And I feel for these two -- they're trying to carve a new life and I'm not sure they really know quite what it will be yet. She was pretty brutally hit by the press over there, and quite unfairly I think. And he's got childhood baggage I wouldn't want to have. I admire that they were willing to quit it and live with their repercussions and challenges. I suspect all the media will die down in due course.

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    1. I don't follow the press over there, so I am unable to say whether they were treated unfairly or not, but you have a President who consistently and constantly complains about unfair treatment in the media, so draw your own conclusions I suppose. But I would imagine that with this episode, and the unsavoury allegations around Andrew, the monarchy must have taken a serious hit.

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  36. Hola David.

    Hermosas todas las fotos pero las del Bubo scandiacus son impresionantes, ojalá algún día pueda ver a esta maravillosa especie en su hábitat; felicitaciones.

    Un abrazo desde Galicia, España,

    Rafa.

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  37. A snowy owl must be hard to find in the snow. Great camouflage. I remember driving through Nova Scotia. You knew you were coming to a small hamlet by the church spire rising in the distance. - Margy

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  38. The snowy owl is a beauty to see and the winter landscape compliments it. I love the horses in the first photo, it would make a wonderful card.
    Have a nice evening, David.

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  39. Que maravilloso búho, me encanta. Un abrazo amigo David.

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  40. The owl was well spottet. I know he is a wild and cool bird - but he is cute too (don't tell him).
    /Lisbeth

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  41. Doesn't the Owl look like it's smiling! A lot of church buildings here have gone the same way - flats usually and they sell very well. I won't start on the whole royalty thing it just makes me roll my eyes!!

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  42. I would love to see a Snowy Owl they are quite beautiful. As for H and M I am also sick of hearing the news. Have a good day, Diane

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  43. Such beautiful snow pictures! At first I thought that the snowy owl was made of snow... it was alive!
    Unfortunately we had no snow this year in Germany.

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  44. Wonderful photos of the snowy owl and horned lark. Bird royalty is so much better than the other kind.

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  45. That is one incredibly beautiful snowy owl! I enjoyed the scenery, too. Such pretty horses.

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  46. You captured incredible scenes here David. That snowy owl, I hope I get to see such a sight one day. I know it can get old but the snow makes everything so beautiful!

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  47. Hello David, indeed royalty the only one is; the Snowowl! Miriam has ideed good eyes to spot this bird. I had to laugh reading your view on that other royalty couple. I agree with you that they are spoiled people.
    Regards,
    Roos

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  48. Thank you for a wonderfully idyllic post, David. The landscape, the buildings, handsome horses and, of course, His Majesty!

    It almost makes me wish for snow in Florida. Almost ...

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  49. Hei!!For en fin snøugle!!Jeg trodde det først var en liten snømann!!

    Den er joo såå søt!
    Landskapet er og helt fantastisk!Jeg må google hvor dette er!

    Likte godt den kirken !

    Jeg forsto ikke helt dette med de kongelige--Uff vi er ikke så inntressert i kongelige her i Norge
    Liker ikke at vi skal betale skatt til dem og så reiser de bare på tur og kjøper masse klær mens vi andre må jobbe og slite..Her i Norge tror jeg det er siste generasjon med kongelige..Når Kong Harald dør tror jeg det blir valgt president
    Hun der Megan kan begynne og jobbe og tjene sine penger på ordentlig vis

    Den riktige Kongelige Høyet er såklart The Snow Owl :))Hurrah!

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  50. Such gorgeous scenery! I love the snow covered round bales but that owl is just a superb catch--thanks Miriam!!

    Thanks for linking up at 'My Corner of the World' this week!

    My Corner of the World

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  51. Incredible photos! My fave is the first one with the horses.

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  52. Hi david,
    such a joy to see these snow-covered fields with blue skies above.
    Spotting a Snowy Owl is top of the bill offcourse. You managed lovely pictures of it.

    Best regards, Corrie

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  53. Hi David,
    It feels good to see there is at least a real winter in Canada. With us we have to suffer from rain and wind. But, spring seems to be on its way.
    Without any doubt the snowy owl is the best encouter you had during this perfect winter day.
    Greetings, Kees

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    1. It really doesn't get much better than a Snowy Owl! Kees. You will have to come here in the winter and we will help you to find one.

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  54. love the beautiful horses. The horned lark I have seen once, in Morocco :) A little hotter then this. :)

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  55. Hi David,
    Yes, this is a stunning "Oh my, good to be alive day! With the Horned lark and of course the Snowy Owl, so gorgeous. The snowy landscape is great!
    Happy weekend ahead,
    Greetings, Maria

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  56. David - you are a fortunate man to have such a "partner-in-crime" as Miriam. Owl spotter, talented photographer and companion - what more could you want? Thanks to both of you for the marvelous pictures of "royalty"!

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    1. Additionally, maker of the world's best blueberry bran muffins.

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  57. Cudowna sowa! Piękne zdjęcia! Dziękuję Miriam! Miło popatrzeć na śnieg. Bardzo za nim tęsknimy! Konie wyglądają malowniczo!

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  58. Que maravilla amigo. Es un privilegio verlo. Gracias a Mirian y a tí por compatir este belleza blanca. Me he recreado ampliando las fotos para verlo mejor.
    Un abrazo.

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  59. What gorgeous horses with their black fir and contrasting white manes. I did not realize how much the Mennonite population is declining. When the youth get a taste of what life can really be like, it must be difficult to go back. Owls usually look handsome to me but this snowy one is really adorable. The eyes appear to be smiling.

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  60. Hello. The snowy owl is just beautiful and fantastic. Well done, Miriam!

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  61. hello David
    with astonishment I read the report that Miriam recognized the snowman ;-)) as an owl, I would not have recognized it myself, but you got some nice pictures of an even more beautiful bird, great
    with a royal greeting :-)
    Frank

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  62. Hi David
    How wonderful all that snow, I really missed that this winter.
    So beautiful to take photos in the snow.
    Now I enjoy this, I still have a little winter.
    Beautifully photographed.
    Greetings Tinie

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  63. I would like to see a snowy owl with my own eyes.

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    1. Come on over next winter. We will try to show you one. Lost of other winter specialities too!

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  64. I don't like winter, however, in the pictures Miriam is phenomenal, fabulous very beautiful.
    Miriam's photos are excellent. The snowy owl is a lovely bird.
    Greetings to Mirian and for you David:)

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  65. Hace unos años apareció una Alondra cornuda Eremophila alpestris en Galicia, norte de España y fue todo un acontecimiento. Un reportaje espectacular, las fotos del Búho blanco son una maravilla. Enhorabuena para Miriam, gran trabajo!!!

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  66. David, I think the church you passed is connected to the Lutheran Church in Linwood. According to this website (https://www.historicplaces.ca/en/rep-reg/place-lieu.aspx?id=9722) it only opens for four services a year.

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  67. Hello David.
    It's been a long time since I've seen landscapes under the snow! What a beautiful meeting this Owl! When I think that she was in Europe...

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