I knew it was going to be a long afternoon when I got the heads up that there were three Northern Saw-whet Owls in addition to the Great Horned Owl pair along the east dyke trail at Reifel today. On arriving to help out on the trails, the parking lot was full and visitors were being held at the gate until spots opened up.
Only one of the Northern Saw-whet Owls was in a vulnerable spot that needed watching over. For the most part the photographers were well behaved today, other than a couple who figured they could park their tripods and cameras right in front of the bird without moving all day.
For all the visitors that passed by this spot,
… they were treated to an unobstructed view of a Northern Saw-whet Owl. Something that you do not encounter here all that often. This definitely made the day for most of them.
When I headed out to Reifel to help out on the trails this afternoon it was sunny and there was a good crowd. While not finding much in the first instance,
… I spent time with some Northern Shovelers. Later in the day it started to cloud over with the occasional light shower. To brighten things up a visitor I had spoken to earlier flagged me down and informed he had found a Northern Saw-whet Owl. The owl was tucked away pretty good with lots of branches between it and the camera.
I had to set the camera up low and look up into the overhanging branch. You can see the Northern Saw-whet Owl has a vole in its feet. I spent the next couple of hours set up here showing visitors. As luck would have it and closing time neared, the Saw-whet decided it was time to eat.
I managed to get some video before having to make a dash for the parking lot and five o’clock arrived.
Well it was a gloomy wet day and the lack of visitors at Reifel reflected that when I arrived to help out this afternoon. As I started out down the east dyke trail, nobody else was around. Nobody people wise anyways,
… but this Northern Saw-whet Owl was tucked away trying to stay dry. While I have seen a few this winter, none have been in good spots for being able to get photographs. Today’s Northern Saw-whet Owl was not much better as it was roosting behind several branches. Fortunately I had my 70-300 mm zoom today (to be able to keep the camera under my jacket). It was a little more flexible in getting an angle than the larger lens and tripod would have been.
The other highlight along the east dyke trail was a Eurasion Wigeon in a large puddle along with some other ducks in a field on the Alaksen side. Did chat with a few of the hearty birders that did venture out and there was no other sightings of note. The only other excitement was at the end of the day when I almost got knee capped by a Cooper’s Hawk that blasted by in front of me as I approached the entrance.