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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Great Gray Owls - one of my most favorite birds of Madison County

Last Friday and Saturday evenings I was able to locate a reported Great Gray owl near the South Fork of the Snake River in the Sunnyville area.  It was much too dark and the bird was too far away to get some good pictures.  But last fall and the fall before I found these Great Grays also in Madison County. 

There were a total of nine Great Grays that I located this fall in the Moody Creek drainage.  They would allow be to get close if I would sneak up behind a small tree.

Often times they would fly away, but only a short distance.


Here one landed in the top of a small pine to watch me.


Even while I was snapping pictures, they would be constintly hunting.  The large discs around their eyes allows them to pinpoint rodents over a foot under the snow.  They rotate their feet so their feet is above their head as they dive into the snow.  They are awesome hunters.


I will keep working this owl that I saw the other day.  The only problem is that it is on private land and I am limited to certain areas to stalk it.  But come summer, I will be looking for nesting pairs in the Moody Creek area.

19 comments:

Martha Z said...

Great series, I've never gotten an owl of any species in my lens.

jo©o said...

My goodness, bill, what terrific photographs of these fine creatures.
I had never even seen a picture of them before. And your setting is wonderful.
I also admire the way you arranged your header picture: giving that fearsome bird so much scope.

Arija said...

They are so beautiful. I have never seen owls like these before.

Larry said...

Excellent shots of the Great Gray Owl Bill! What a gorgeous raptor. The photo of the owl flying away is awesome!

holdingmoments said...

Wow Bill, what a beautiful face he has. Such a magnificent bird.

Andrew said...

A beautiful Owl. Great images.

Gary said...

Grand captures of a great looking bird, Gary & Boom Of the Vermilon River, Canada.

KaHolly said...

I'm coming to Madison County!! I've heard them in our NE woods, but I've never seen one!! Great shots. ~karen

Sondra said...

What a fabulous bird to have close at hand...Wonderful photos--I really love that BIG face and I imagine its super to watch them hunt.

eileeninmd said...

Bill, awesome captures of the Great gray. I would love to see this owl someday. In answer to your question on my Pine Warbler post, we have the Yellow Warbler here in the summer months but the not the Wilson.

Springman said...

You're really on to something here. I've been on a fruitless search for owls this winter. I love seeing yours and look forward to more of your great catches!

bailey-road.com said...

Wow! These are terrific shots of the Great Gray Owl!

Julie G. said...

Fantastic Great Gray Owl images! I have never had much luck capturing photographs of owls. It's a joy to view your wonderful photos! Good luck spotting nesting owls this summer.

Trish ~ ♥ ~ said...

2 days ago I spied a short eared owl. It was first for me. With spring coming the excitement of birding is building.

troutbirder said...

Terrific owl pics, Bill. I've only seen Great Gray in Montana although about once a decade their is an "irruption" from Canada into northern Minnesota.

Mike B. @ slugyard.com said...

My goodness, that first photo doesn't even look real! Amazing shot.

dAwN said...

Holy Moley...Awesome photos!!! Lucky You!

The Write Girl said...

Gorgeous gray owls. You've taken some amazing photos and have quite the photographer's eye. Thanks for your comment on my sky watch photo. I did not know the name of the birds I shot. They were quite far away. I think they may be black birds but I'm not sure. I enjoyed your post here.

Robin Robinson said...

Wow! I envy you this bird, how magestic! Fab. captures.