Long-eared Owls - 08Dec2007

0800 Hrs. Sunny and cold (30ºF) this morning. As I headed south on Jefferson through Riverview a Northern Mockingbird flew across the street in front of the steel plant.

0830 Hrs. I stopped at the Marshland Museum at Lake Erie Metropark and walked the trails. Three White-tailed Deer were feeding in the grass at the entrance, and allowed their picture to be taken. Cardinals, White-throated Sparrows, Robins, and Chickadees were active. A pair of Hermit Thrush sat in the open for several minutes, but I was too slow to set up my digiscoping gear. I had left the D70 and 400mm Sigma home this morning, so I was concentrating just on digiscoping today.

Along the way I spotted a Long-eared Owl roosting back in the woods fairly out in the open. Not leaving the trail, I set up and proceeded to digiscope several frames and a short video before spotting three more roosting birds farther back! Don't worry, I wasn't put under any stress during the whole time, making sure to keep enough distance not to disturb the owls (also the beauty of digiscoping!).

I then headed along the shoreline and spotted a half-dozen Pine Siskins feeding in the alders along with several Goldfinches and Tree Sparrows. I also managed a pair of Swamp Sparrows and Juncos. While crossing one of the foot bridges I noticed a male Black Duck working its way through the freezing waters to feed. While digiscoping the duck, several Tree Sparrows came down to the water's edge to drink, but one apparently didn't appreciate getting its picture taken. A Winter Wren also made an appearance, flitting among the rocks below me, but too fast to digiscope.

1000Hrs. - I then drove over to Pt. Mouillee SGA HQ on Campau Rd to scope the Huron River. Lots of Bonaparte's Gulls and Common Mergansers flying about. Leaving the parking lot I failed to photograph a Red-tailed Hawk roosting across the marsh in a tall tree. However, I stopped at the entrance gate and found an adult Sharp-shinned Hawk roosting out in the open. It was obviously watching the flock of House Sparrows feeding along the fence, and paid me no attention as I got out and digiscoped numerous frames and several videos. A large van even passed under it w/o spooking.

Driving out and back to Robert's Road I spotted another Red-tailed Hawk and an adult Cooper's Hawk, but they were gone before I could even stop the car. Good day!


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