Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Success At Last!...

Nope, not yet...

So...last Saturday I was planning on a trip to Magee Marsh (bird heaven!) to see if I could find an otter Northern Saw-whet Owl, another one of things that everyone else sees but me and I believed must be some kind of joke and everyone is laughing behind my back as they tell me "to go right to this spot and stand there and you'll see the owl right in front of you...really."...oops, was I rambling again? Sorry. So, where was I? Oh, I was planning on a trip to Magee, when, lo and behold!, I received an email from the Black Swamp Bird Observatory (the finest banders I know) stating that Kimmay and Kenny Kaufman were leading a walk to find that notorious NORTHERN SAW-WHET OWL! Jeepers I said to myself...they wouldn't kid me, they're too nice! I think I shall sign up for this little foray into the land of owl. Really, I said that out loud to myself.

I was beside myself all week, easy to do when you have as many personalities as me! Oh my...a owl of the northern saw-whet variety I kept thinking. I slept nary a wink Friday night...with dreams of sugar plums...no...OWLS...dancing in my head! I left bright and early at 6:30am to make sure I wouldn't miss anything! Phil would never get up that early, so I didn't ask him. ( If you're reading this, Hi!zzzzzz....)I was the second to arrive...and soon there were about 25 happy owly birdy types in the parking lot...plus a group of Ohio Young Birders.

We were soon off to the lot of the Magee Marsh Sportsmen Center. I was amazed that I actually got to see one of these amazing little owls that visit us every winter! THEY ARE REAL! And soooo cute too. They had been in the same area for a few weeks, even with all the hub bub of folks walking up to see them and take photos. PLEASE...I you go to visit our little friends, be courteous, keep your distance and if you take photos, DON'T USE A FLASH.

 This was the first one I saw!
Special thanks to Kenn for pointing it out for me!
Lifer happy dance!!

 All this ruckus!
"I just want to sleep..."

 A few of the BSBO members spying on the little guy hiding in the pine.

 This was number two!
I'm still excited...looking for years with no luck and this I saw TWO!

 Oh, yeah...there some Bald Eagles flying around too...
Ho-hum...just another eagle...

 Seeing a Northern Harrier, though, IS exciting!

 I think this is my first Harrier from behind!

 The other reason for visiting the marsh was to try to get a better photo of a Northern Shrike.
Not today! He was WAAAAAY back there!
See him?

 EXTREMELY cropped and he's still tiny.
Maybe next time...
I did get the owl...I'm still happy!

 In the tree above BSBO I spied a Woodpecker of the Red-bellied variety.

 And there were plenty of Trumpeter Swans tooting all around us...even a few Tundra Swans!

 More Sandhill Cranes than I've ever seen in the past!
What a great day to be out!

 And even more Sandhill Cranes flying past!

 We all heard Rusty Blackbirds singing in the trees.
All I could see were Common Grackles, European Starlings and Red-winged Blackbirds.

 Did I mention Bald Eagles yet?
Yeah, there were two or three...or ten or twelve...

 Kimmay pointed out the size difference between the female on the left and the male on the right.
He better listen.
Way down in the lower right corner, rudely blocked by my name, is their nest.

 Just in case you were wondering, I did manage to get an "Owl From Behind" shot!
Lifer butt!!!

Until we meet again...out there in the wilds somewhere...contact your local politicians and let them know how important our natural areas are! 
Thanks on behalf of the owls... 

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