I could have sworn that I’d seen a Northern Hawk Owl before but decided to take an hour anyway to go and, as we assumed, fail to see the one that has been reported this week south of St-Lazare. So, all domestic chores done for the day there we were, driving down this unmade, pot-holed, muddy, wet road laughing at the guy ahead of us in his shiny black Mercedes who was not enjoying the conditions at all, when a few hundred metres north of the farm that the bird has been reported at previously we pulled over to try to photograph a Crow in a field by the road. (Sad, I know, but I happen to like Crows). All of a sudden something came barreling in low from the west and started chasing the Crow. Usually, it’s the other way around with Crows doing all the chasing except during the Red-winged Blackbird nesting season … but what do you know, it was the Hawk Owl itself ! Having spooked the Crow it then flew back and sat on a power pole right beside us sorting its feathers and looking very proud of itself posing for a post-fight photograph before flying away east towards the thick stand of trees beyond.
Better yet – when I checked my records I couldn’t find conformation of what my memory was telling me so I am claiming this one as the lifer. A good start to the day.
After that we tried for a last chance Snowy Owl around St-Clet but failed (as we expected) now that they are leaving the area … there were, however, quite a few small groups of Horned Larks … and unlike previous deep-winter sightings they were singing and trilling away in a most delightfully lark-like fashion in the warm, thawing weather You can hear their song here. Not close enough to get a sharp photograph but here is a sample:
After that, and as predicted, not seeing a Snowy we checked the open water at St-Anne-de-Bellevue and saw, too far away for the camera but well within scope view, a trio of two male and one female Common Goldeneye. The water was flowing at a prodigious rate and they must have been paddling like fury below the surface to maintain position … though the female rested at one point and was swept downstream to cannon into the side of one of the males.
St-Anne also has a small and vociferous population of House Sparrows which we always enjoy (as you know) at the Sparroworks … and to cap it all off, the first grass shoots poked through the snow in our garden today.
Spring is coming.