The previous weekend was a complete write-off for me as on the Saturday morning I came down with the stomach flu my poor kids had had all week and I wasn’t back to good health until a few days later. So, I was extra-keen to get out to Cochrane’s Grand Valley Road this weekend and once again I was not disappointed.
Arriving at 8:30am I took roughly the same route north as before, and while I saw several raptors none were in good shooting positions and after 45 minutes I was beginning to think my first visit had been a lucky one. As I approached the Bates J Ranch I slowed down to 40km/h and began scanning the treeline for owls as there had been recent sightings in the area, albeit somewhat sceptically based on the poor luck so far this morning. I then noticed a couple of ravens up ahead that were flying in a way that caught my eye. As I came level with them, I glanced across to see what was drawing their attention & was very pleasantly surprised to see them perched in a tree with a Great Gray Owl below them! Mental note: I need to pay more attention to magpies and ravens in future as they seem to dislike raptors and have a habit of harassing them, which in turn pinpoints them for the photographer. The ravens flew off shortly after and I was able to get out of my car and take a number of shots from several angles. The owl was fairly active flying from the trees to the ground several times, but did recognise my presence by flying away as I approached too close so I happily let him/her be and headed on.
I then headed south via various range roads and was pleased to get some more shots of the photogenic Mountain Bluebird, as well as some American Tree Sparrows that were mixed in amongst a flock of Dark-Eyed Juncos. I also saw a number of Red-Winged Blackbirds in the sloughs along the roads…spring is definitely here!
All in all, another successful trip with the owl shots absolutely making my day :).