Tagged: bird

The Warbling Vireo

Though a rather plain and often overlooked bird, the warbling vireo can be found singing it’s warbling and musical song in shade trees near streams. The following photos were taken very early for the songbird season, in late April. Very few leaves were out yet, and this songster was easy to spot.

Warbling vireo
Warbling vireo (click to enlarge)
Warbling Vireo singing
Warbling Vireo singing (click to enlarge)

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Strix nebulosa

In my opinion, one of the most appropriate Latin names for any bird is that of the Great Gray Owl: Strix nebulosa. The species certainly has a nebulous character, roosting deep in dense woods, and only appearing at the edges of open areas near dawn and dusk to hunt, which makes it rather hard to find with the limited hours of daylight in the winter. Once one actually locates this owl, it is immediately evident that though it seems very lethargic, it is extremely aware of all that is happening in its surroundings. For instance, it is very possible to have them suddenly launch off their perch only to catch a vole under a few feet of snow. They show very little fear of humans; there have been many photos posted showing people standing right next to a Great Gray Owl. When in flight, their wingspan is truly impressive.

They tend to come south in any good numbers only once every few years, when the vole population crashes further north. The large invasion in the winter of 2004-2005 was well documented, but in the years since then there haven’t been too many that came south.

This past winter I was able to get numerous photos of a pair of them that wintered near Ottawa; most photos are from a trip in February with Alex Mody.

Great Gray Owl pouncing on prey
Great Gray Owl pouncing on prey (click to enlarge)
Great Gray Owl headon
Great Gray Owl headon (click to enlarge)
Great Gray Owl hunting in heavy snow
Great Gray Owl hunting in heavy snow (click to enlarge)

Great Gray owl sideview
Great Gray Owl pouncing on prey from the side (click to enlarge)

Great Gray Owl wingspan
Great Gray Owl wingspan (click to enlarge)

View more, or order a print at my gallery!

See more Great Gray Owls here

Michigan trip

I’m back from my trip to Michigan. It was slightly over a week long, and the main goal were loons. I spent most of my time near Rogers City in an area known for tame and approachable loons and also made stops in Grayling for Kirtland’s Warbler, and Ann Arbor for grassland birds that are not easily found in Ontario. I headed home via Sauble Beach for a quick hour of Piping Plover photography.

I took about 6000 photos during my trip, and it will definitely take me some time to go through them! That said, I will try to post a few favourites soon.

Songbird photography is now essentially over, with birds well into raising young, ceasing to sing and vegetation becoming thicker.  My focus is  shifting to photographing  grassland and waterbirds before the shorebirds begin appearing in a few weeks on their southward migration.

Loon photography from boat

This gives you an idea of how tame these loons are