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Sunday, 10 January 2021

Short Excursions

 07 January 2021

     We had been told by our good friend, Merri-Lee, that she had seen Red Crossbills (Loxia curvirostra) in the spruce trees in the small cemetery on Boomer Line, so we set off to see if we could emulate her success.
     The snow was pristine, dazzling white, and there were fresh snowmobile tracks indenting the surface.


     We were happy that these noisy machines were not hurtling across the fields to disturb the tranquility of the day while we were there.
     The cemetery is abundantly attractive to crossbills, but none were feeding there during our visit.


     It was not for lack of seed-bearing cones.


     Crossbills are highly mobile and no doubt have several favourite feeding spots. We will have to be patient it seems!
     Waterloo Region is agricultural in nature, with ample fertile land for cash crops, and this farm seemed frozen in time, waiting for the renewal of spring.


     Since we were out on a glorious day we expanded our search and headed off to areas where we have always had success finding Snowy Owls (Bubo scandiacus).
     It did not take us long to locate a beautiful, large female.



     She was quite distant, but still provided wonderful views.
     It was more than a little disturbing to see tracks heading off into the field.


     A small (I hope) minority of unscrupulous birders and photographers do not think twice about trespassing on a farmer's field, all in the quest for a closer look or a better shot. Some have been known to carry mice which they release so the the owl will be lured into flight - all to get that perfect flight shot. Of course, not all rodents set free are captured and the farmer is left to deal with the problem. 
     Apart from the trespass aspect, these owls are resting, conserving energy and should be left alone. Trying to convince some boneheads of that simple fact seems to be a lost cause. The hubris they spew in defence of their actions defies belief.
     Just before leaving for home we were delighted to see another female Snowy Owl perched on a post.


     I swear that I heard her implore us to come back, and we will be sure to accept her invitation to get together another day!

09 January 2021

     We had not seen Heather and Lily since before Christmas and we were all anxious to go for our Friday walk (socially distanced, of course).
     Lily changes so much at this stage of her life and she seemed to have become a "big girl" in the three weeks since we last met up.


     Heather really wanted to see a Barred Owl (Strix varia) so we chose to visit Hillside Park in Waterloo, on a mission to find an owl.
     And find it we did!


     It was actually Heather who first saw it, which was very fitting. 
     It is too bad that the tree where the owl roosted was bedecked with plastic trash, but such is the nature of human disregard for the environment as we know all too well.
     But nothing could detract from the regal demeanour of this denizen of the forest.



     We made sure that Lily saw it. She will not remember of course but she now reacts to many stimuli and no doubt enjoyed her first encounter with an owl.



     I know it's hard to believe but the owl didn't seem especially impressed with Lily!
     The words of Robert Frost sprung to mind as we walked through the woods - "Woods are lovely, dark and deep."


      Lily, as always was happy on the walk, and chuckled and laughed the whole time. 


     See you again soon, Lily!


     I could ask you all to vote for your favourite pictures on this post - Snowy Owl, Barred Owl or Lily. I think I know who might win!
    

60 comments:

  1. Haha the pictures are all lovely, especially little Lily, however I do love your closeup photos of all the owls, such interesting faces. I need to get out and do some winter walks. Getting lazy!

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  2. I love the owls but Lily just gets cuter all the time!

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  3. Lovely photos, David. They are all so pretty. I have never seen a owl, only heard it. They are a very special bird. Lovely to see Lily again. I wote for the big owl in the tree. Lily is very cute, but the owl is my favorite today. I'm sorry David.

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  4. Lily of course. Do love the scenery photographs and I love the Owl photos...however. It is difficult for me to love owls since I am a former chicken farmer and the owls would swoop in and carry of my my girls at night. They could find the opening and fly right into the coop.

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  5. Hari OM
    No, not fair, for each of these subjects is the star of its own shot!!! YAM xx

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  6. Querido David me encantan los Búhos, pero en esta ocasión me quedo con las fotos de Lily. Es una niña preciosa y sonriente, para comerla a besos. Las fotos son todas preciosas. Feliz semana. Un abrazo enorme para todos.

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  7. Beautiful winter scenes and of course adorable Lily would win! Excellent captures of the Barred Owl.

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  8. Yes, you are probably right, although I must confess that both the Snowy and the Barred Owls are very handsome birds.

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  9. Walking in winter is a great medicine for humans.

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  10. superb photos LILY is a doll the owls are ultra cool

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  11. That last photo really does highlight how Lily is growing. She's losing some of that 'babyness' that's adorable, but only one stage leading to an even more adorable one. I was quite taken with the trees in the cemetery and the long view off to the farm. Of course, there are those owls: equally delightful.

    Believe it or not, there's snow only a hundred miles north of me today! It's spreading across the state, although we probably won't get more than a bit of sleeet. Still, we can dream!

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  12. Beautiful post and I loved the owl photos especially

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  13. Fantastic shots of birds and girl!

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  14. Lily grandit vite!
    Le hibou est joli et la chouette blanche aussi, rien de mieux que des photos au nature!
    Bonne soirée

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  15. A nice refreshing winter outing. Baeutiful looking owl and Lily is gorgeous.

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  16. Hi Both,
    What an extraordinary outing, with three wonderful finds, a Snowy Owl , a Barred Owl an a Lily, all super images,
    Lily is really coming on bless her.
    Yes Lily wins my vote hands down.
    Stay safe and well
    John

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  17. Omg the photos are amazing! Such a piecefull place!, <3

    www.pimentamaisdoce.blogspot.com

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  18. Two owls again in one day what a pleasure the shots of the Barred owl are superb, but I so want to see a Snowy Owl. The only one I have ever seen was in captivity and to me that does not count. I cannot believe that people release mice on farmers fields - some people have no respect.
    Keep safe, Diane

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  19. Beautiful owl sightings. I like them very much, but maybe precisely because I rarely meet and photograph them. I really like the photo of this farm in the snow. It is perfectly composed and intriguing

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  20. I'm envious of the time you get to spend with gorgeous little Lily. I have an 8 month old grand-daughter in Brasil who I yearn for. That fourth photo just took my breath away, the composition and light - stunning.

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    1. That's really tough to have your grandchild so far away, with little chance of even being able to travel in the foreseeable future.

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  21. Lily se ve que ha crecido y está muy linda. Besos.

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  22. Good evening dear David, como estas!
    here goes my vote: Lily, the owl and the snow.
    What a wonderful threesome in the forest,
    it may be dark but Lily-blue eyed
    completely illuminates the air
    Muchos besos y abrazos desde
    una calurosa Buenos Aires ʚ♡ɞ ʚ♡ɞ

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  23. Sad how some people can be so inconsiderate. I vote first equal for Lily and the barred owl :)

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  24. Ugly is beautiful! I mean the owls look ugly, yet beautiful.

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  25. I was happily scrolling past your beautiful owls, and quite happy the baby was along. Then that last photo, and I gasped. Lily has grown to be a child!. Her hair even is attached! What a beautiful child.

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  26. As much as I love the owl photos, I think the photos of Lily leave them in the dust.

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  27. Beautiful photo's David. It's great that you go out with the baby so she can learn about how beautiful nature is. My friends have a farm outside my village and she told me how rude certain birders are. It's great to see the Short eared Owl on theire hunt over the fields. They also have the Barnowl in theire barns. In the early summer of 2019 I could hear the scream of the young long eared owls behind my garden. A fantastic moment I will never forget to see them in flight in the dark hours. But during the day they were not to see.
    Have a wonderful week ahead.

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  28. Lily may not remember, but she will know that it was possible, and that's almost as good. That has always been my approach! Two species of owl in a day - I dont get that in a year!!

    Hope all is well.

    Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

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  29. Love the BEAUTIFUL snowscapes. And the cute Lily shots too!

    Happy Monday, David!

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  30. Hello David,

    I think they are all gorgeous photos. I love both the owls and sweet Lily.
    Take care, enjoy your day! Have a happy new week!

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  31. I'm delighted to see that you are still able to get out, David, and to meet up with Heather and Lily too. Although I was able to get out several times last week, my excursions were not very productive, and now we are being told not to leave home at all unless it is absolutely necessary, so I think that it's just going to be garden observations for the foreseeable future.

    I was disappointed to learn of the irresponsible behaviour of the photographers. It gives a bad name to those that are more considerate.

    I'd be happy with sightings of any of those three nominated subjects but, at the risk of causing some displeasure, I'd have to vote for the Barred Owl, never having seen anything remotely like it, except in captivity, and Lily isn't (I hope!) a wild child!

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  32. You have real winter there ... I'm still waiting for the snow! The owl is so beautiful, and so is the baby!

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  33. Hi David.

    Beautiful those Owls how beautiful they are.
    Great to see lily.
    How fast she grows.

    Greetings from Patricia.

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  34. I am jealous of you having such stunning birds on your doorstep! Nice for you to be able to catch up with Lily too :)

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  35. As much as I hate snow, your snow photos look beautiful! (The snow we had here in Connecticut US melted awhile ago.) And to get photos of a Snowy Owl! I can only dream of that. (I tried to find them when we had an irruption a few years ago.) And I can't believe people would release rodents to try to get the perfect photo of the Snowy Owls. Ugh. With regard to Lily: just wait until she starts walking! :-)

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  36. It is too obvious to vote for Lily, for she is a start, so I will opt for the second barred owl photo.

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  37. Gosh - she's grown up facially hasn't she?! Wonderful to see ... while her hair has yet to settle down ... love it. You're right about our stupidity in trying to get close to wildlife ... and I sincerely hope 'the bone head' didn't do any more 'damage' ie let loose a mouse to escape into the wonderful natural world we live in. Brilliant to see the Snowy Owls and the Barred Owl ... put me down for the Lily top of the pics. Wonderful photos too ... take care - Hilary

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  38. Great winter landscapes. Nice to see Lily again.
    Hugs and greetings.

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  39. The owls are magnificent, they are such beautiful birds. And Lily gets livelier day by day! No snow here, just cold and grey! Hugs to you both, Valerie

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  40. The photo of that cemetery. Oh, it's fabulous. And I love that gorgeous owl!

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  41. Lily sure is cute, but I’m afraid I would vote to see a snowy owl again. It was such a treat to find one in the winter in Minnesota but it didn’t happen every year. I never heard of baiting the owls with mice!

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  42. Está preciosa y encantadora amigo David, tiene esos mofletes para mordisquearlos un poco, y el pelo sigue de punta ya que es un atractivo más.
    Me han encantado los búhos querido amigo y las fotos son preciosas.
    Como bien dices, hay muchos desaprensivos que no respetan absolutamente nada, por desgracia, suele ocurrir en cualquier sitio.
    Un fuerte abrazo querido amigo y compadre David.

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  43. Hi David,
    I loved the landscapes and the owls they are magnificent birds, the 12th photo is incredible, but voting without a shadow of a doubt that I would vote for the little princess Lily, she is so beautiful and smiling.

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  44. Wonderful reward and agree that some photographers are to eager.

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  45. That last photo of Lily is the winner!! I love the owl shots too. You got some great photos.

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  46. Hello David, All your photos are splendid. It's the first time I have seen your granddaughter, she is very pretty, and seems to be enjoying her outing.

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  47. Wow, I just found out about your blog and had to subscribe. Your bird photos are so interesting! I'm not sure about what part of N America you live in but it must be quite a northern region if you're seeing Snowy Owls!
    Congratulations.

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    1. Welcome to my blog, Guillermo. We live in Waterloo in southern Ontario, Canada, a common area for Snowy Owls in the winter when they move south from their Arctic breeding grounds.

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  48. Beautiful pictures as usual and I do love that Rainbow Lorikeet. Wow, what colors!

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  49. Such a terrific post ~ Lily steals the show, but I do love the owls ~ and that blue sky farm picture is stunning. The owner might enjoy it if your so inclined, I think it would make a beautiful framed picture or future Christmas card. Blessings

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  50. lol, that snowy owl fits nicely in the current surrounding. :) You have to excuse the Barred Owls lack of interest for Lily. They live in there own little world. :)

    We finally got some snow where I live. Just enough to make the world a little more beautiful. Up north however, they got A LOT! Too much of it. :)

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  51. Yes, while Lily always steals the show, the Bared Owl was just as lovely. It was nice to see the Snowy Owls even if at a distance, but unfortunate to read about the lengths others will get to in trying to attract its attention. The snowfall made me envious as we have none currently.

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  52. Lovely photos of Lily, the birds and scenery.

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  53. Beautiful pictures as usual, David.
    Lily is adorable. I like your new header too!

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  54. hello David
    the profit clearly goes to Lily ... who had any doubts? .. :-))
    Greetings Frank

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  55. These are some great adventures with awesome photographic results! Lily has a smile to die for :)

    A lovely addition to 'My Corner of the World' this week! Thanks for linking!

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