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Anything outdoors!  Tornadoes, eagles, blizzards, or auroras.  If it is in the sky, running through the woods or swimming in the water, I'm there!


Sunday, March 2, 2014

March 2 Snowy Owls in McLeod, Kandiyohi, and Meeker Counties

Another brutal start to another weekend morning. -18 air temp. For lack of a better term, this winter has been a real ass kicker. First light of the day hitting on icicle on our house.

After an unsuccessful outing for coyotes the evening before, I decided I would go look for some snowy owls around Hutchinson, MN since I had an errand to run anyhow. Yup, why could have been a 20 minute trip in town turned into a 6 hour, 200 mile + circle. All I needed was an excuse to get behind the wheel with a couple of cameras in tow.

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It was good to see some deer moving around. They just need to make it a few more weeks.

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A first for me. An eagle and a deer in the same frame.

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Back to the owls. Bird one was found in Hutchinson on the south side of town in a sparsely developed housing subdivision. I took a few frames and headed off to run the errand.

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I decided to make one last pass on this owl and found it had moved to a different location. I wonder if a shingle warranty covers talon and owl pellet damage?

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I quickly figured out why the owl was moving. Some guy (with some high end glass) and his kid were flushing the owl just to he could get flight shots. I talked to him and it quickly became evident he wasn't the usual d-bag photog I run in to. He was genuinely clueless about the damage and stress they were inflicting on the owl. Instead of ripping this guy a new a-hole (which I was ready to do right in front of his kid), it was a good opportunity to educate instead. He was a nice guy and took what I said seriously. I hope he continues to be aware of the ethics involved with photographing raptors. And yes, I preached about baiting also. I handed him a card, shook his hand and backed off to a non-intrusive location leaving the owl where it was.

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The other problem this owl had were the crows. If you spend a lot of time in the field, you know how badly crows hate owls and eagles. Every year at TRC we see eagles come in who have been clocked in the head by crows. The crows finally gave up and the owl moved back to it's preferred roof top perch.

Here are some miscellaneous shots from the rest of the day. The other two snowys (also barred females) were found in Kadiyohi county off CR 136 and 105th Ave SE to the southeast of the intersection way out in the field. I was heading north on 136 saw it. Looked like a rock standing straight up. Not quite as heavily barred as the Hutch bird. I would have needed a 2x teleconverter to make that one even show up on an image. Maybe it is time to re-think digiscoping again.

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Power pole fail on that one!

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This one has had the crap cropped out of it.

Bird three was the one being reported on the MOU list northwest of Grove City near Paynesville I'm assuming. This one is also a fairly dark female also. Not as deeply marked as the Hutch bird but darker than the Kandiyohi owl. I didn't notice her right away as she was sitting on the roof of a shed near the intersection of CR39 (Tri County Highway) and 180th Ave. 180th has another name which starts with a B but I can't remember the whole name.

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Ended up with yet another butt shot for my efforts.

It was a fun day. Warmer weather on the horizon finally!!

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