Monday, February 11, 2013

Great Gray Owl

Great Gray Owl at dusk, Sac Zim Bog, MN.

After seeing the Boreal Owl and grabbing lunch, we headed to Sac Zim Bog to look for Great Gray Owls. There was a lot to see at the bog, but these owls had been reported mostly after four pm, so we concentrated our attention. Sac Zim Bog is a mix of wetland, upland, and farm land. The diversity of habitat types is matched with avian diversity.

We parked at along a road that was a Great Gray Owl hotspot and walked a trail looking for the owl. The sun was setting and it was clear and cool. We watched for a while with no luck. We decided to head back to the car and slowly cruise the roads.

After cruising north for a mile or so, we turned and headed back south. The sun was below the horizon, but the sky was light. We saw some Ruffed Grouse along the road and watched them for a minute. Then we noticed a car stopped up ahead of us. Sure enough, the owl had perched on a limb above the road right where we were the first time. While the photo is not a close-up, through a scope the white 'bow-tie' was visible. The large half-domed head and great size were impressive.

The habitat and sky immediately after the owl flushed. (A car drove by and the owl flew off.) While I wish for a closer look some day, I was very happy to get my first look at this awesome owl.

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