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Those piercing eyes - remind me of Licorice Allsorts candy : )

These Northern Hawk Owls are so amazing ! On Wednesday, we travelled NW of the city. The weather was perfect, sunny and blue skies, and the Owls were pretty co-operative : ) I was out for nine hours, something like three of them were spent on travelling to and from the location, the other six hours were spent watching the Owls either very high up in trees or lower and quite close to us. Northern Hawk Owls have no fear of humans, which can make for wonderful watching - IF you can find them in the first place. When I visted the area on Sunday afternoon, I went alone and stayed for a much shorter time. Having company makes the difference, both for the trip and once arrived. Thanks so much, Phil, for inviting me to go along - and thanks to various other friends who arrived close to when we did. Usually, the more eyes the better, when it comes to finding birds. I was also told yesterday that Wolves had been heard in the area and that there were Cougar tracks in the snow. So glad I didn't know this on Sunday - but now, of course, I'll be very nervous if/when I go alone, lol! I had hoped that the snow would gradually melt, as it was very deep - again up to my knees in many places - and the sort of snow that is crisp and crunchy on the surface, hiding deep, powdery snow beneath. My least favourite ground to walk on, as you never know if the next step will send you plunging down through the top layer. It's so difficult to get up on your own once you are kneeling down in deep snow. You put your hand out to help push yourself up, and of course your arm disappears. Yesterday morning, it snowed, which will hide the treacherous holes and ice out there - nasty! By the end of the day, I was exhausted - no strength in my legs at all, and so much pain. Standing in one spot, with one's head tilted upwards for a long time, is a killer, as is trudging backwards and forwards through deep snow. So worth it, though, ha!!

 

The Northern Hawk Owl is a medium-sized owl, about 35 centimetres (14 inches) long. It is rare to uncommon in Alberta, year round. Apparently, it is one of Alberta's most sought-after birds.

 

www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Northern_Hawk_Owl/id/ac

 

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Hawk-Owl

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Taken on March 21, 2012