Great Horned Owl

On arriving at Reifel this afternoon to help out on the trails I learned one of the Great Horned Owls was present in the sanctuary again. Knowing this to be a favourite of visitors I headed in that general direction. There was just one short detour along the way to the Ewen Slough blind in the northeast corner.

Spotted Sandpiper
Spotted Sandpiper

A Spotted Sandpiper had been seen earlier and was still present. Here it is intently watching a fly buzzing around in front of it. After a few minutes enjoying the sandpiper I made my way to the north dyke trail and located the Great Horned Owl roosting in the deciduous trees between there and the inside grassy trail.

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

I set up the camera for the visitors allowing them a close up view. Needless to say it was quite the hit.

After a while I did take a break for a walk. The only things cooperating,

Dowitcher
Dowitcher

… were some Dowitchers by the tower. I eventually made my way back to the Great Horned Owl,

… finishing the afternoon there. Even had a little time for this video.

Great Horned + Dowitchers

It was a pleasant afternoon and a half decent crowd at Reifel when I arrived to help out on the trails today. A favourite visitors are always asking about is owls,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… and much to their delight one of the Great Horned Owls was in a decent spot for viewing today. While the adults and two juveniles this year have been viewable from a distance earlier in the year, this was probably the closest one has been in a while.

With not much else happening,

Dowitcher
Dowitcher

… I decided to spend some time with the Dowitchers.

Dowitcher
Dowitcher

They were in the southwest field along with some Yellowlegs,

Dowitcher
Dowitcher

… with a few taking advantage of the great day for a little bathing.

Kingbirds, Phalaropes & Owl

Definitely a hot one today and not many people at Reifel when I showed up to help out on the trails this afternoon. While still fairly quiet on the birding front, there were a couple of interesting sightings.

The highlight of the day was an update on the Eastern Kingbird pair that have been at the sanctuary for some time now. The question in everyone’s mind has been could they be nesting here. That got answered this morning with the nest being located in a tree at the edge of one of the little islands heading out towards the west field. The best angle is probably from the beginning of the south dyke trail looking west using a scope for viewing. While I could make it out with my camera,

Eastern Kingbird Nest
Eastern Kingbird Nest

… it is too far off for pictures. I did manage to observe them trading places on the nest while watching it for awhile this afternoon. I believe the last record of Kingbirds nesting at the sanctuary was about 15 years ago.

Last week in the outer ponds there was one Wilson’s Phalarope.

Wilson's Phalarope
Wilson’s Phalarope

This afternoon there were three in with the Dowitchers out beyond the tower.

While there were no reports of owls from the morning walk,

Great Horned Owl
Great Horned Owl

… I did find one of the adult Great Horned Owls this afternoon off the east dyke trail. At the time of this photo it was watching something intently in the field below. Shortly after this shot it swooped down out of sight after what ever it was.