The hope for today was to relocate a couple of Sharp-tailed Sandpiper that had been spotted yesterday in the house pond at Reifel. Despite lots of walking and checking of likely spots they could be multiple times, I could not find them.
The afternoon was not a total loss, however,
as this Great Horned Owl provided a great photo op and viewing.
Not having found a Sharp-tailed Sandpiper amongst the Pectoral Sandpipers a few days ago at Boundary Bay, I was looking forward to helping out at Reifel this afternoon as one was spotted there yesterday. So I started my afternoon at the sanctuary by checking the outside ponds. On speaking with other birders who had been checking since the morning, the Sharp-tailed Sandpiper had not been relocated and I did not fare any better.
Having struck out there, I started making my way to the east dyke trail where a Great Horned Owl had been sighted earlier.
Along the way a couple of Bewick’s Wren were flitting back and forth across the trail. One cooperated ever so briefly allowing me to get this photo.
On reaching the northeast corner the Great Horned Owl was roosting in an evergreen adjacent to the trail.
As they are a favourite of visitors, I had the camera set up allowing them close up views. A second Great Horned Owl flew in while there and landed in a tree along the inside grassy trail. So the owls ended up being the highlight of the day.
A few days ago I checked on a Great Horned Owl nest, but it was overcast and not conducive to good photos. This morning I returned with blue skies and sunshine.
This particular nest has just one owlet that I have seen.
While it is still spending a fair amount of time tucked away under the adults feathers, it does pop out and make the occasional appearance. Young Great Horned Owls are quite curious and fun to watch while they are looking around and bobbing their heads.
Still photos cannot really capture this behaviour well, fortunately today’s cameras also do video.
Before leaving I also managed this shot of the chick stretching its wing to show the growth of the primary feathers.