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by wdg on Wed Oct 03, 2018 5:35 pm
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I'm wondering if there is any news on great grays, boreal, or snowys for the upcoming winter.
There have been a few sightings of snowys near the Canadian border and North Dakota recently but nothing more. 
I understand there has been a report of no or very few lemmings in the arctic but have not heard a breeding report for the SNOWs. 
Any news appreciated :)
 

by OntPhoto on Thu Oct 04, 2018 11:47 pm
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Too early to tell :-) Wait until mid-November. Not unusual to see a snowy owl this early for the current year. A number of them over-summered in Ontario. One thing I do not expect to see as much as last winter is great gray owls. Last winter there were a few of these owls around in the Ottawa area. That's because the winter following or preceding an irruption winter (last irruption was winter 2016-2017 - it's every 4 years and sometimes 5) may see a few around. That was the case last winter.
 

by OntPhoto on Fri Oct 19, 2018 5:21 am
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They seem to be banding an unusually higher number of Barred Owls this fall.  Unless they're recaptures of the same owl(s) which I think they would make a note of if that were the case.  But you never know. Speaking about barred owls, some of us still remember that one fall when there were 11+ barred owls counted at Presqu'ile Provincial Park, Ontario.
 

by Mike in O on Fri Oct 19, 2018 10:57 am
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With an El Nino event being forecast, and nasty weather due for the eastern half of N.America, I would expect good owling for you guys. Since I live on the West coast and our Great Grays are not migratory, nothing much changes. Barred Owls are being shot by the thousands in our local forest (trying to save the Spotted Owl) but they are breeding like Collard doves. Only Owls that I look forward to seeing come into the area are Snowys and Hawk Owls.
 

by OntPhoto on Tue Oct 30, 2018 6:57 am
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Mike in O wrote:
With an El Nino event being forecast, and nasty weather due for the eastern half of N.America, I would expect good owling for you guys.  Since I live on the West coast and our Great Grays are not migratory, nothing much changes.  Barred Owls are being shot by the thousands in our local forest (trying to save the Spotted Owl) but they are breeding like Collard doves.  Only Owls that I look forward to seeing come into the area are Snowys and Hawk Owls.

There have been something like 19 barred owls being banded at one banding station in eastern Ontario.  Fall 2016 also saw a similar number of barred owls banded.  I'm not really sure what to make of the numbers as Mike mentioned, barred owls are very good breeders.  Then again, it could be a sign they're on the move especially if this many show up in one spot.  I'm sure they're on the move this fall. 

However, it is shaping up to be an exciting fall and winter for birders and photographers. Many will have already read the following in a birding email listserv for Ontario.  And this is in keeping with the Finch Forecast for this fall and upcoming winter.  From the Hilliardton Marsh area, "..northern shrikes are becoming easy to find  and recently researchers at the marsh have been banding boreal owls so we are starting to see a (s)mall movement of boreal[s] (owls) which may move south in search of food as well. There have also been a small movement of boreal chickadees that some birders and photographers may find of  interest."  - B Murphy 

I haven't noticed too much in the way of boreal owls being banded at other banding stations.  I don't think it's uncommon for the Hiliardton Marsh area to see boreal owls.  Although the apparent uptick in numbers being banded up there may mean we could possibly see more than normal numbers down here in eastern Ontario.  I see 2 were recently banded at Tadoussac in Quebec.  But nothing like an irruption year such as fall 2016.  At the very least it offers some hope of seeing one or two of these owls down here this winter.

I think 2 Boreal Chickadees have been reported in Ottawa already.  Kind of early and a species rarely seen this far south.  A few snowy owls have been popping up here and there in both Ontario and Quebec (in the usual spots) in October.  Fall and winter can be very exciting months here :-)
 

by wdg on Wed Oct 31, 2018 10:02 am
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Snowys are showing up here (ND) but this is usual time for them to migrate through. They usually stay about 7-10 days in a spot and then move on - so nice rotation through the winter months. Numbers vary but hoping for good winter. Still have not read anything on breeding season for SNOWs and reports of very low prey north. 
It would be nice to find boreal owls in the area again so hopefully they will find their way here.
Thanks for updated information
:)
 

by OntPhoto on Tue Nov 06, 2018 6:00 pm
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wdg wrote:
Snowys are showing up here (ND) but this is usual time for them to migrate through. They usually stay about 7-10 days in a spot and then move on - so nice rotation through the winter months. Numbers vary but hoping for good winter. Still have not read anything on breeding season for SNOWs and reports of very low prey north. 
It would be nice to find boreal owls in the area again so hopefully they will find their way here.
Thanks for updated information
:)

They're moving in.  It's early.  Usually you don't see snowy owls here in good numbers until late November to mid-December.  This bodes well for a good season of snowy owls.  Again.  But I am still wary to say anything as there were at least 24 snowy owls that over-summered in eastern to southwestern Ontario.  That's only what they counted.  Some of these owls may be ones that stayed down here. 

I don't know what the breeding season was like up north but don't think we'll be lacking for snowy owls here in eastern Ontario to south-western Quebec.  The usual areas.  We'll have a good fall and winter season of snowy owls.  5 years in a row?  

PS.  There was an article on climate change and its possible effect on the rat population.  They may have highlighted the rodent effect to get more peoples attention.  For us bird photographers, more rodents means more raptors and owls around as food abundance influences breeding success and number of young in nest.  

https://nationalpost.com/news/world/climate-change-is-scary-rat-explosion-is-way-scarier
 

by OntPhoto on Fri Nov 09, 2018 1:49 pm
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Fellow birder/photographer just sent me this.  Looks like another great winter for snowy owls.  The blog post even mentions that as many as 10 snowy owls have shown up on Amherst Island in recent days.

https://www.projectsnowstorm.org/posts/snowies-on-the-move/?utm_source=Project+SNOWstorm+mailing+list&utm_campaign=8688500bfa-RSS_EMAIL_CAMPAIGN&utm_medium=email&utm_term=0_365885ae36-8688500bfa-72314833
 

by OntPhoto on Wed Nov 14, 2018 11:25 pm
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Image


2018 isn't over yet but there were some memorable highlights for me.

Without a doubt the juvenile northern saw-whet owl was the most rare.  You can be birding for decades and not get to see one of these owlets in the wild.  An over-summering snowy owl was a cool reminder in the summer heat, one of the hottest summers on record in Ottawa.  Earlier in 2018 we had both northern hawk owl and great gray owl (a few great grays were in Ottawa this past winter).  The white-winged dove is a first for Ottawa and so was the recent male King Eider in breeding plumage.

Supposedly someone spotted a white-crowned pigeon this morning in the Pembroke area. This would be a mega rarity if true.

PS.  First northern hawk owl of the season reported already.  Not unusual for November.  Oh, oh, based on recent info there are signs we could possibly see one or two great gray owls this winter.  
 

by OntPhoto on Sat Dec 01, 2018 11:28 pm
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Looks like another good fall/winter for Northern Hawk OwlsMore than several have been reported. I may get to see one or two soon.  Here's hoping they stick around for my visit   :mrgreen:


Last edited by OntPhoto on Sun Dec 16, 2018 4:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
 

by OntPhoto on Sun Dec 09, 2018 7:56 am
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The streak continues. This northern hawk owl was very active hunting on its own.  A reported 17 snowy owls on Amherst Island.

The farm fields in the west end of Ottawa (Kanata, Stittsville) surrounded by Eagleson, Fallowfield, Akins, Rushmore and Brownlee are great for seeing snowy owls. As good if not better (you don't have to drive far) than east of Casselman.  I have counted up to 6 snowy owls there in the last couple of weeks including this tame very white male.  I photographed it on the weekend along one of the roads, Akins.  Lots of people there.
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