A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of accompanying a few photographer friends on a hunt for the Great Grey Owl. Rumour had it that the owls had migrated to the Ottawa area from Alberta in search of food. One of the guys on the safari had been to the spot a couple of weeks earlier and had been sworn to secrecy of its whereabouts. He couldn’t tell us where it was, but he could take us to it. So off we went braving the worst blizzard of the season in search of an owl to shoot – photography shooting that is.
‘Turn right, turn left, then right at that corner. Go down a few blocks and turn left and then right again. Drive until you hit the parkway. Stay on this road for a bit and then turn onto the other parkway. Drive until we get to a parking lot on the right….no not that parking lot….a little bit further down the road.” After what seemed like hours of driving through whiteouts, we found the empty parking lot, grabbed our gear from the trunk and started walking down the highway. About half an hour later we crossed an open field and started searching through the woods. I’m sure we walked up and down for at least two hours, and there was no owl to be seen. We were absolutely freezing!
Just as we had decided to pack up and go home, a gentleman came by on show shoes, asking if we were looking for the owl. He mentioned that he comes every day and apparently the owl knows him and will follow him around on his trail. I’m not sure if the owl truly recognizes this man, or the owl just woke up for his evening hunt for food and we happened to be there (it was about 4 30 pm and owls do hunt at night), but sure enough, within ten minutes there was a flutter in the trees, and then…..THERE IT WAS!!! A GREAT GREY OWL!!! And it was flying right towards us. Not thinking, I just pointed the camera and started pushing the shutter button. I missed the first dozen shots, because I hadn’t had time to focus properly. Once I had settled down, and could regroup, I managed to capture so many pictures, it was difficult to choose the best ones.
Here are a couple of my favourite. I’ve posted a bunch more under a new tab called ‘Nature’.
Not only was it a major snow storm, but I am directionally challenged at the best of times. People keep asking me how to get to this field, and honestly can’t give them directions. I am, however, hoping to go out once more before the owls leave in the spring, so this time, I might be able to register the location.