April 17, 2007
Twelve O'Clock And Owl's Well, Part II
This triptych (which can be seen larger here) was taken while waiting for night to come at Shoe Lake in Nopiming Provincial Park, to begin a volunteering stint for the Manitoba Nocturnal Owl Survey.
The survey was fruitful this year; Kerry, buddy Jason and friend Christine and I heard 15 total owls (of three species) over 20 stops along a rugged and sloppy logging road, as well as three drumming ruffed grouse and an angry, tail-slapping beaver in a nearby creek (scaring the breath right out of me). We also saw ravens, two bald eagles, three panicky snowshoe hares, one scurrying mouse, one waddling skunk and one shooting star.
Sadly for me, I forgot to bring the little connector dealie that attaches the camera to the tripod – so there were no cool night shots to be had this year. Which may have not been a huge loss despite more stars than I have perhaps seen in my entire life, the moonless night did not provide much in the way of tonal variations (unlike last year).
Addendum! The following weekend featured a once-in-a-blue-moon happening. A great grey owl, largest owl in North America and Manitoba's provincial bird, sat perched in our neighbour's tree for an entire Saturday afternoon. These owls are rare enough in their natural habitat (which is, by the way, not inner-city elm trees) – so a find like this, while Kerry and I conducted front yard spring cleaning, is unlikely to ever happen again in my lifetime. The sighting was also a great chance to use the new zoom lens, though the brightly overcast sky was quite unkind to a camera being pointed up into the trees.