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Click for moreFeb 11, 2013 - Weekend Adventures

This past weekend I took an outing each day and enjoyed the locations visited.

Saturday was -20 with windchill and we had a huge snowfall in the days prior. Bundled up, a visit to the Humber Abroretum was made.

We wore snowshoes, which greatly helped us to to cover a lot more ground, and in a faster way compared to normal walking. It was early and the trails had not been worn in following the big snow, so it was a perfect day to bring the snowshoes out.

At Humber a few usual suspects were noticed, and despite trying, the Great Horned Owl due weren't noticed anywhere, but this wasn't despite looking.

On Sunday, I hunted for snowy owls but didn't have any success, but did manage to take some shots of the landscape around Caledon.

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Click for moreFeb 3, 2013 - A stranger calling can be a good thing!

When I find a good productive place to explore, I find myself returning over and over, each time looking in a different area.

This weekend, the sun was shining early on Sunday, so off I went. The destination was the Humber Arboretum, where I was pretty sure I'd find a Saw-Whet owl (and sure enough I did), and I was also hopeful I'd also find the Great Horned owls I've seen on previous visits.

Upon arrival, I checked out the usual spots for songbirds and smaller species, and wasn't disappointed. Within a few minutes I had seen white-breasted nuthatches, woodpeckers including the red-bellied woodpecker, and even managed to spot a doe walking by.

Trekking further away from my starting point, I noticed a lot of tiny cones in a tree, and heard some birds that sounded different than usual. These birds were feeding on the cones, and once I got closer I realized they were common redpolls, which I've been meaning to get more shots of lately.

Roaming around the forest for quite a while, I was unable to spot the Great Horned Owls. I was on my way out of the park when something interesting happened. I know from experience that when crows and small birds are making strange calls, they may be 'alarm-calling' to alert others of an intruder. I was hearing a very strange call, and so I sought out the source.

Eventually I found the strange caller. It was a Coopers Hawk high in a tree, squawking a blue streak. I went closer to where he was trying to get a clear shot of him, and that's when I noticed he was screaming about the Great Horned Owl in an adjacent tree! Needless to say I was excited to find the hawk, and even more excited to find the owl he was crying about.

If there's a lesson learned, it's that when you're looking for owls or other predators, pay close attention to the bevaviour of other birds. They may be trying to tell you something, and this is when you'll be happy you listened when a stranger called :)

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Click for moreJan 26, 2013 - Humber Arboretum - Great Horned Owls

Today the weather wasn't really supposed to cooperate according to the meteorologists, and so a nearby trip was planned given lighting might not be ideal. As it turned out the sun came out, and a great day was have following Great Horned Owls around.

The Humber Arboretum has proven to be an excellent place for nearby outings this winter, and today was one of the best visits.

Upon arrival, we saw the usual suspects, and shot the red-bellied woodpecker, some nuthatches and of course the friendly chickadees were there too.

Some time later we ran into a friend Mike we keep seeing there, and he was on the hunt for not one, but two Great Horned Owls. We were all too happy to help with the search and were rewarded!

We were able to see both a male and female, and managed to see them at a few different locations in the lowlands where they were perched high enjoying the sun.

We also went and visited the resident Saw-whet owl, and otherwise enjoyed a great walk on a sunny Saturday.

As for Great Horned Owls, I got interested as my suspicions were that these two were mating. I researched the timeframe and it appears and of January is about right for mating, so in the weeks to come these two will likely find themselves a good spot to nest and rear their young.

Ah yes, another great day in our frigid winter here in Ontario, gotta love it!

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