fbpixel

Moderators: E.J. Peiker, Greg Downing

All times are UTC - 5 hours

  
« Previous topic | Next topic »  
Reply to topic  
 First unread post  | 17 posts | 
by wdg on Sun Nov 28, 2021 10:25 pm
wdg
Forum Contributor
Posts: 68
Joined: 06 May 2017
Just curious if anyone has any information about winter owl movement. 
Snowys have been very late arriving here so wondering about the Great Grays, Boreals, or Northern Hawk Owls. 

Thanks
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:53 am
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
wdg wrote:
Just curious if anyone has any information about winter owl movement. 
Snowys have been very late arriving here so wondering about the Great Grays, Boreals, or Northern Hawk Owls. 

Thanks

My favourite subject.  I won’t be providing locations except for snowy owls that show up at the well-known spots in Ottawa.  Snowy owls have been moving in starting late October.  I thought maybe these owls were just birds that perhaps over-wintered not too far north from last winter. But a knowledgeable birder doesn’t think that is the case.  Right now they are not easy to find.  Maybe moving thru or hiding due to lack of snow cover here in Ottawa. 

I know the location of one northern hawk owl.  Not in town.  Apparently it had moved on so may be at another nearby location.  
 

by wdg on Mon Nov 29, 2021 11:00 am
wdg
Forum Contributor
Posts: 68
Joined: 06 May 2017
OntPhoto wrote:
wdg wrote:
Just curious if anyone has any information about winter owl movement. 
Snowys have been very late arriving here so wondering about the Great Grays, Boreals, or Northern Hawk Owls. 

Thanks

My favourite subject.  I won’t be providing locations except for snowy owls that show up at the well-known spots in Ottawa.  Snowy owls have been moving in starting late October.  I thought maybe these owls were just birds that perhaps over-wintered not too far north from last winter. But a knowledgeable birder doesn’t think that is the case.  Right now they are not easy to find.  Maybe moving thru or hiding due to lack of snow cover here in Ottawa. 

I know the location of one northern hawk owl.  Not in town.  Apparently it had moved on so may be at another nearby location.  



Thanks. 
Do you know if irruption year for the great grays? I know of an area that has high numbers during an irruption year (as well as the northern hawk owl) but a distance away for me (worth the drive if they are there tho)
 

by Pete Zwiers on Mon Nov 29, 2021 7:08 pm
User avatar
Pete Zwiers
Lifetime Member
Posts: 1401
Joined: 03 Aug 2004
Location: Prince George, B.C.
Member #:00411
I drove from Minot ND to Saskatoon today. We counted 15 snowy owls along the stretch from Rouleau, SK to about 50 kms south of Saskatoon (going through Moose Jaw). Not sure if that's normal for this area, but it was a lot for us.
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Nov 29, 2021 9:52 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
wdg wrote:
OntPhoto wrote:
wdg wrote:
Just curious if anyone has any information about winter owl movement. 
Snowys have been very late arriving here so wondering about the Great Grays, Boreals, or Northern Hawk Owls. 

Thanks

My favourite subject.  I won’t be providing locations except for snowy owls that show up at the well-known spots in Ottawa.  Snowy owls have been moving in starting late October.  I thought maybe these owls were just birds that perhaps over-wintered not too far north from last winter. But a knowledgeable birder doesn’t think that is the case.  Right now they are not easy to find.  Maybe moving thru or hiding due to lack of snow cover here in Ottawa. 

I know the location of one northern hawk owl.  Not in town.  Apparently it had moved on so may be at another nearby location.  



Thanks. 
Do you know if irruption year for the great grays? I know of an area that has high numbers during an irruption year (as well as the northern hawk owl) but a distance away for me (worth the drive if they are there tho)


When we talk about irruption of great gray owls and northern hawk owls, the one I refer to is only for a certain area of Canada and bordering northern States.  From what I know, the irruption for great gray owls was last winter (2020-2021) which fell on the 4-year cycle.  Occasionally it is 5 years but mostly every 4-years.  It wasn't a big irruption here last winter but we did have a number of them move down.  It was better in the Sax-Zim Bog and surrounding area from what I read. 

Too early to tell what will happen this winter in eastern Ontario and Quebec and neighbouring northern States.  I toyed with the speculation that maybe this coming winter will be the real irruption only because last winter was not great for seeing these owls.  I heard that great gray owls are showing up in better numbers in western Canada.  

Having said that, every winter we get to see a couple of northern hawk owls and great gray owls in eastern Ontario and western Quebec.  When birders do their Christmas Bird Counts we will have a better idea.  By then it will be more cold and likely more snow cover on the ground.  Last winter, the Christmas Bird Count was the time all these northern hawk owls were found or at least reported.  And great gray owls too.  Not many though, or at least they were not easy to re-find.

PS.  Back in the day boreal forest owls (great gray, northern hawk owl, boreal owl) were included in the annual Finch Forecast but not for many years now.  I was told the reason being that there is not enough resources to keep tabs on the small mammal population (voles mice, etc.) up north.  I forget what the reason was for the limited resources, maybe lack of funding for such surveys.  Last I heard, they were still doing small mammal counts up in the Algonquin Park area (University of Guelph?).  Not sure if that's the case during the pandemic.
 

by Karl Egressy on Wed Dec 01, 2021 6:34 am
User avatar
Karl Egressy
Forum Contributor
Posts: 37452
Joined: 11 Dec 2004
Location: Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Member #:00988
People are finding Long-eared Owls, Northern Saw-whet Owls and mostly Snowy Owls in Southern Ontario, but nobody discloses the location.
It is good for the Owls, bad for Photographers but it is what it is.
 

by wdg on Wed Dec 01, 2021 12:50 pm
wdg
Forum Contributor
Posts: 68
Joined: 06 May 2017
Not really looking for locations (I’m one of those that don’t disclose).
I just was curious about possibility of irruptions or movement.
I’m located by the middle northern US/Canada border and its surprisingly sparse so far.
But then so has the snow - alas.
I’m used to seeing at least 5-6 Great Gray (during irruption years it has been as high as 25 within a 3 mile radius) and I’ve yet to see one.
If last year was an irruption year for the Great Gray it wasn’t there so I wondered if it might be this year.
Shorties have been almost nonexistent as well after years of high numbers.
I assume the lack of snow has something to do with vole population.
Thanks for info tho, appreciated.
 

by OntPhoto on Wed Dec 01, 2021 8:59 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
I keep my locations quiet.  I sometimes may consider sharing locations that are known to many already.  The owl doesn't care if 10 to 20 people show up versus 30 to 40. To the owl, one is too many.

If you lived near this lady birder. she had a great winter 2020-2021 for great gray owls.  Maybe the irruption last winter was more west of Ottawa around the Lake Superior area.  So, that's where "our" great gray owls went :D   Explains the low numbers of great gray owls seen in eastern Ontario to western Quebec. 

Read her report about Minnesota in January 2021 here.  

Impressive Great Gray Owl irruption of Winter 2020-2021. 


The eBird Map shows she is correct for January 2021.
Image
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Jan 03, 2022 3:58 am
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
While I can't provide any locations, there is a smattering of both great gray owls and northern hawk owls around this winter.  Similar to last winter.  If we get a lot more great grays showing up in January 2022, then it could mean something else.  Otherwise this is a follow-up year to last winter's irruption cycle for both of the aforementioned boreal forest birds, so I should have no problem seeing both this winter.  There have been a few boreal owls being seen as well (some not posted but shared by word of mouth only).  
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Jan 03, 2022 8:03 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Nice start to the new year.  Cold but well worth it.  About 16 years in a row where I have seen at least one northern hawk owl.  The streak continues.


Image
 

by OntPhoto on Thu Jan 06, 2022 5:59 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Image


My second Northern Hawk Owl this week. I know the location of a third.  While the environment may look similar, hydro wires, the owl locations are extremely far apart from one another.  Location 2 is much better than location 1 (the first photo I posted).  

When it rains it pours.  Plan to visit the two great gray owls too.  Winter is just starting.
 

by OntPhoto on Sun Jan 09, 2022 7:38 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Image


Time to clean my camera contacts.  My almost 8-year old Canon 7D MK2 was acting up this weekend especially with Ai-Servo.  I can tell it isn't jumping into focus.  It's not the lenses as they work fine on my 6D.  Still, it was fun to be out especially with a special owl around.

Yes, that's snow on top of its head.  Owls perch in the same place for a long time.
 

by OntPhoto on Tue Jan 18, 2022 6:49 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
I have my fill of Northern Hawk Owl this winter.  About 7 locations are known (includes eastern Ontario and south-western Quebec).  Even though exact locations are not provided on eBird anymore, word still gets around in the right circles.

Also 3 locations confirmed for great gray owl.  I'm quite happy with just northern hawk owl.  The other stuff is icing on the winter cake.

This is Hawk Owl No. 3.
Image
 

by OntPhoto on Mon Feb 21, 2022 7:56 am
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Image


OK, last post of the most photographed northern hawk owl in Ottawa. Hundreds of cross-country skiiers have seen it as they glide past the owl perched on its favourite stand of spruce.  It is expected to be here until mid-March to end of March.  Slim chance of this owl getting hit by a vehicle as it is far away from any roads.
 

by OntPhoto on Sun Feb 27, 2022 12:45 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
Image


Ottawa is always great for northern owls.  One of two great gray owls. Photographed recently.  I know the location of 3 but apparently there are at least 7 (the fourth is in the Gatineau area) with most in one part of town.  From a reliable source.  

Last winter was a bit of a dud.  This winter has seen more great gray owls, which you would expect in a smaller irruption winter.  So, this is the occasional 5-year cycle I have read about in the stats.  I don't have all the numbers but based on what I have seen on eBird, there were at least 14 reported sightings of GGOW in Quebec (January), along the St-Lawrence River alone.  Strecthing from Ontario-Quebec border to the Quebec City area, I counted 14 sightings with a concentration of 6 just in the surrounding Quebec City area.

Most of the great gray owls reported in the Ottawa and surrounding area seem to be in the east end of Ottawa.  I won't reveal my source but at least 5 is a good number.  I know of 2 in town and the one west of Ottawa.  Someone else knows about the Gatineau bird but was not refound.  Maybe the same one or another great gray owl was not refound (a month since last sighting) also in Gatineau. 
 

by OntPhoto on Sun Mar 06, 2022 8:42 am
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
One reason why certain owl species are being kept quiet and no longer publicized is bad behaviour by some.  There is a Facebook group called Ontario Owls and they are shredding this one photographer, including posting his photo and apparently someone managed to ID him.

Whether what they said he he did is true or not, I'm not sure. Things like banging sticks on the roost tree and shaking the tree of a recently seen boreal owl in Ontario to get the owl to open its eyes, etc.  I have occasionally heard these stories over the years.  Sure, it amazes me whenever I hear something like that.  I know this much, whoever does that is not a person who respects owls or wildlife in general. They're in it for the photo only and sure, some are only into it for that.

There are also rumours going around about NCC wildlife conservation officers following up on someone feeding a northern hawk owl.  Apparently, the person was warned previously.  Was told people took photos (or videos).  NCC can impose rules on their land just like provincial and national parks.  
 

by OntPhoto on Thu Mar 10, 2022 10:32 pm
User avatar
OntPhoto
Forum Contributor
Posts: 6967
Joined: 09 Dec 2006
Location: Ottawa, Ontario. Canada.
You know how the GGOW irruption cycle is every 4 years and occasionally 5 years?  I have seen enough reports to say with some certainty that this is the 5 year cycle.  Last winter was a dud in the Ontario and Quebec region.  This winter has seen way more reports of GGOW than last winter.

There were quite a few around the Ottawa and surrounding area this winter and a few are still around in mid-March 2022.  Including this individual but with a second one seen nearby.  The great grays are starting to move back north which may explain why a number of them are being spotted now. 
Image
 

Display posts from previous:  Sort by:  
17 posts | 
  

Powered by phpBB® Forum Software © phpBB Group