Would you have noticed?

We spent a weekend out of the city, visiting a wonderful photographer friend who knows “the places” to see cool stuff.  This was the weekend of the owls, mostly snowy, always a delight to see.  Snowy owls, unlike most other owls, are active during the day.  Born on the tundra, they are found where there are large fields.  They might be on the ground, sitting on fence posts, atop telephone poles or in trees.  They might look like plastic bags from distance and there were some times when we got excited at seeing something in a tree or on the ground and discovered that it was, indeed, a plastic bag; vice versa, we might have been about to dismiss something as plastic then realized that it was actually an owl!

Take a look and then ponder if you might have driven by a very wonderful part of winter: the temporary existence of silent, white, beautiful neighbours. The dark bars indicate a female or immature male.

And then…we visited the Owl Woods.  With a name like that, you know it has to be a very cool place.  Even without seeing owls, it is.  There are very interesting trees, including a shaggy species called Shagbark Hickory; an open little area with benches and bird feeders, active with chickadees, nuthatches and other feeder birds; and lovely hiking. Going in, we heard that two Saw-Whet Owls had been sighted.  One was at eye-level; the other, about 12 feet up in a tree.  We never found the eye-level one and it took five of us over an hour to follow the vague “broken tree, after the pine trees, chickadees in the area” clues to find the 7-8 inch adorable little critter perched in a tree with a broken branch in an area full of “broken trees” and pines. As for the chickadees, they were indeed sounding off their disapproval of a predator sitting in their territory and were dancing around the branches trying to yell and intimidate the owl away.

Would you have noticed this?

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