Saturday, January 5, 2008

Owl time

5 January 2008

A nice bright morning tempted me out along ’the lanes’, an area of farm roads around St-Clet, west of Montreal (you Notts birders think Gringley Carr x 20 in size). But first there was the matter of a visit to my local patch, St-Lazare sand pits, expecting really to only look at the snow. It was deep and crisp and even as usual but a distant blob in one of my hawk trees was clarified by a scope view as a fine Northern Goshawk basking in the sun. I’ve said it before but these North American Goshawks look very different from the European version, they differ structurally and have more of a longer tailed buteo jizz than the very accipiter jizz of a Eurasian Goshawk (for N. American readers, jizz = shape/impression).

This little success, when measured against the fact that our city is allowing the wholesale destruction of the local forests, pleased me no end. I have been seeing Northern Goshawk at the pits since I first started birding there in 2003 and still they hang on.

I then moved on to the lanes and voila, three distant immature Snowy Owls and, after a bit of touring, I turned up a couple of Northern Grey Shrikes (surely another split) and two Merlins as well as the regular Snow Bunts, Horned Larks etc.

The presence of a male Snowy in the earlier inspired a return visit late afternoon and another immature Snowy Owl was found (the other three being still in the general area).
I managed to photograph one of the Merlins and two of the Snowies, enjoy..

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