In spite of all the sightings this year and a few years ago, Barbara had yet to see one of these magnificent creatures.
We decided to remedy this with a trip out to
March Valley Road. But first we went to Hilda on the off-chance
that a Merlin would be around. Well no
luck there, but there sure were lots of Common Redpolls.
We went on to
March Valley Road,
and soon spotted three vehicles pulled over.
People were emerging from the bush on the south side of the road, so we
carried on past them to look for the Green-winged Teal. Success!
The other group drove past us and pulled over again at the area where there is bush on both sides. Sure enough. they has spotted a Great Gray Owl buried in the branches on the south side of the road.
These people were all out-of-town photographers intent on baiting this owl. One of them actually waded through the deep snow and enticed it to moved to the edge of the bush by dangling a mouse. He then phoned some other photographer friends to get over in a hurry. Soon another ten of them arrived and all made there way into the field through the deep snow.
When they were all ready, the first guy tossed the mouse down in front of them and got an instantaneous response. The owl flew down, grabbed the mouse, ate it, and returned to the same perch. This was repeated a second time.
We had seen enough. It was obvious that they were going to keep on baiting it as long as their supply held out. We returned to the car and cruised the rest of
March Valley Road
without seeing anything else of note.
We took Riddell and March Road back to
then came down to March Valley Road
again. We turned east and cruised slowly
past the spot where we had first seen the group coming out of the bush. Sure enough, another Great Gray Owl was
perched low down a well trod path. We
hopped out and took a few more photos. A
couple of others stopped, including Gary and Sue and some others who took
photos with their phones.
It was a strange outing, in a way. But Barbara had her lifer.