Last Sunday, while on an errand in Whitby, I decided to stop at Thickson’s Woods. This area of the Waterfront Trail at the south end of Thickson’s Road, often yields many surprises. On the few visits that I’ve made there since the Spring of 2010, I have seen 2 great horned owls sitting together about 15 feet up in an old pine, various warblers, nuthatches, woodpeckers, mocking birds and many other birds that I was unable to identify as I am very new to “birding”.
As Joe and I entered the paved path heading east, I happened to look to my right, and in the dappled sunlight of one our rare sunny winter days, was a beautiful creature with large yellow eyes and big ears. It was perched amidst a group of smaller trees. I knew it was an owl but not a variety that I’d ever seen. I then indicated to the couple walking a short distance behind us that they should look to my right. By then, I had my camera with its new 100 – 400 mm. lens shooting in continuous mode as many shots as I could get. I was afraid that the owl would take flight and I’d miss my chance. As it turned out, it stayed there for a long time and once I relaxed a bit, I asked the man behind us if he knew what kind it was. He said he thought that it was a Long Eared Owl. He was also taking pictures and we both attempted to get shots at different angles hoping to get a few without branches in front of the owl.
When Joe finally “dragged” me away from the trail, we headed home and I reviewed my pictures on the computer. I was somewhat disappointed with the results. It seemed that the lens was focusing on the branches rather than the breast of the long-eared owl. Still, for someone who has only seen a few owls in the wild, it was an amazing event which I won’t soon forget. When I added the photos that I took that day to my other owl photos, I realized that I have quite a collection for the short time I’ve been taking them. I will include a slide-show below of photos taken in the last year of owls at Thickson’s Woods, Hall’s Rd. and at the Muskoka Wildlife Centre and Midland’s Wye Marsh. A few may be repeats of earlier blog posts but they are some of my favourites.