Barred and Long-eared Owls in the falling snow in Wisconsin on March 13, 2017

With a day of falling snow, it was be a great day to check out a few owls. I checked out a few spots with a little luck. The Barred Owl was hunkered down when found, it never moved. The Long-eared Owls sat tight as well. With the snow falling on and off during the day, it made for a winter wonderland atmosphere out in the woods. Images were taken on March 13, 2017

The Barred Owl blends right in, how exciting!

The Barred Owl blends right in, how exciting!

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Barred nest hole...

Barred Owl nest hole…

Long-eard Owl with snow...

Long-eard Owl with snow…

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The Long-eared Owl is hidden pretty well....

The Long-eared Owl is hidden pretty well….

Barred Owls in Wisconsin on February 23, 2017

The highlight out birding today was setting my binoculars on a couple of Barred Owls. They did a little flying around on their own and surprisingly one could not be relocated as they just blend in. Image is one of the two seen. Image was taken on February 23, 2017

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Barred Owl

Binomial name: Strix varia

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 21” long, 42” wing span

Weight: 1.6 lb

Eastern Screech-Owl in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on April 9, 2016

An Eastern Screech-Owl, a red morph giving great views this afternoon in Milwaukee County Wisconsin. What a beautiful owl! Always amazes me how they blend in with the habitat you see them in, but that is one reason they can survive. Images were taken on April 9, 2016.

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Eastern Screech-Owl

Binomial name: Otus asio

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 8.5” long, 20” wing span

Weight: 6 oz

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Eastern Screech Owl, Horned Grebes, Common Loon and Killdeer in the snow in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on March 25, 2016

I did a little birding this morning on the lakefront on Milwaukee’s south side. The Lake Express Ferry had ~6 Killdeer and they were for the most part hunkered down with the snow that fell yesterday waiting for things to warm up and melt. South Shore Yacht Club had up to 8 Horned Grebes going into breeding plumage. Dave G, thank you Dave, alerted me of 2 Common Loons near the Petroleum Pier when I was at the Express, by the time I got over there, there was still one present in breeding plumage. The loon pretty much stayed out away from shore but it is really nice to see the first loon of the year. After returning to SSYC I ran into a team of birder-photograhers, Todd, Caron, Keith, Valerie and Bruce too. Todd told me about a Eastern Screech Owl he had just found and I checked it out, thank you Todd. Cool to see a Eastern Screech Owl in a natural cavity. It was a fun morning out with some friends I have not seen for awhile and meeting some new ones too. Sunny morning with a bright blue sky cool temps, but winds made it still feel like winter. Images were taken on March 25, 2016.

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Eastern Screech Owl

Binomial name: Otus asio

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 8.5” long, 20” wing span

Weight: 6 oz

Amazing how the owl blends in with the habitat.

Amazing how the owl blends in with the habitat

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe preening

Horned Grebe preening

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Horned Grebe

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Horned Grebe

Common Loon, distant shot

Common Loon, distant shot

Killdeer in the snow!

Killdeer in the snow!

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Killdeer

Killdeer calling

Killdeer calling

Killdeer resting

Killdeer resting

Killdeer

Killdeer

Killdeer

Killdeer

Killdeer

Killdeer

Long-eared Owls in Wisconsin on January 28, 2016

I have looked high and low for this species over the years and today I stumbled across them, the Long-eared Owls. It was a thrill to see them and to finally get this life bird for the state. There were numerous birds present at this site which I cannot disclose. Such beautiful birds they are, smaller in size then I had thought. Images were taken on January 28, 2016.

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Long-eared Owl

Binomial name: Asio otus

Category: Typical Owls

Size: 15” long, 36” wing span

Weight: 9 oz

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Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 30, 2015

On a gloomy day with some on and off snow flurries the highlight on Milwaukee’s lakefront today was finding a Snowy Owl at the Lake Express Ferry. It sat on a container the time I was there. Bruce joined me and enjoyed the views too. We had been together earlier at Bradford Beach watching 4 nice Great Black-backed Gulls on the beach but were in the water more than out. The Snowy Owl seemed to be in the hunting mode but never went for anything. It did some preening and resting but that was about it. I think it is a male but have not really studied it yet. A nice way to end the year with seeing the 1st Snowy Owl of the season. 2 hunting Northern Harriers  and a American Kestrel also made themselves present at the Lake Express. Images were taken on December 30, 2015.

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Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, lemmings, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other birds such as shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, and pheasants.

Nesting: The female builds a nest on a mound with good visibility.  She scrapes away the top layer of soil and, over several days, presses her body into the ground to make a depression.  She will lay a clutch of 3 to 11 eggs and incubate them for about 5 weeks.  Both parents will defend the nest and care for the hatchlings which are born pure white.  The same nest may be used year after year.

Notes: Snowy owls are considered the heaviest owl in North America, weighing about a pound more than its closest contender, the Great Horned Owl.  A snowy owl was featured in the Harry Potter series when Harry received his pet, Hedwig.  It is also the official bird of Quebec.

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Great Horned Owl Owlets in Waukesha County Wisconsin on April 24, 2015

I birded the Milwaukee lakefront early this morning and the lake was still along with the birding. Large flocks of 100’s – Double-crested Cormorants on the lake, and some flying north was one of the highlights. I saw 2 Black-crowned Night Herons at the lagoon in the trees from Memorial Drive looking east. The few parts of Lake Park I birded and Lakeshore State Park were quiet. I few stops out in Waukesha Co surprised me with Great Horned Owl owlets. No adults were present while I was there (see update below). 4 owlets total out of the nest, I did not hang around but grabbed a few pics. At the same location I flushed a Wild Turkey from a nest, scared the heck out of me and I quickly exited the area and took a distant photo of the eggs. Always surprises me how they manage with the nests on the ground with all the predictors. I know they all don’t survive! Not a lot of bird species today but some nice action! Images were taken on April 24, 2015. UPDATE: A return to the Great Horned Owl location the next day, April 25, 2015 an adult Great Horned Owl was present. The Owl remained in a nearby tree and never moved from that spot while I was there. Images of that adult have been added below.

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Great Horned Owl – Owlets

Great Horned Owls

Binomial name: Bubo virginianus

Category: Owls

Size: 22” long, 44” wing span

Weight: 3.1 lb

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Adult Great Horned Owl

Adult Great Horned Owl

Adult Great Horned Owl

Adult Great Horned Owl

Wild Turkey nest with eggs

Wild Turkey nest with eggs from a distance, other images show at least 11 eggs.

Double-crested Cormorants flyover Lake Michigan

Double-crested Cormorants flyover Lake Michigan

Double-crested Cormorants flyover Lake Michigan

Double-crested Cormorants flyover Lake Michigan

Snowy Owl near the Horicon Marsh on January 27, 2015

I made a run up to the Horicon Marsh this morning to see what was going on. I guess the highlight was a Snowy Owl on a pole. Other species present were a couple of Rough-legged Hawks, 5 Red-tailed Hawks, 5 American Kestrels. No Northern Goshawk today. I watched this Snowy Owl for awhile on the pole as it looked and listen. It gave nice views but never left the pole when I was present. Even though a little sun was in the forecast, it never came out. With mild temps, just another gloomy January day near the Horicon Marsh. Images were taken on January 27, 2015

The yawn

The yawn

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

Preening

Preening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

Preening

Preening

Snowy Owls near the Horicon Marsh on January 16, 2015

I made another run up near Horicon Marsh to see what was happening. For the most part the day was slow but there was some excitement at times. One Snowy Owl put on a show a few times going for prey and just off hunting. One time going for prey it got something out of sight in the cattails. On another long run I think its prey off the ice but it was fast action and I missed it. Some sun was in the forecast I read for today, but it was just another cloudy day, cold with low winds. It always amazes me the speed these birds have as they travel long distances in only seconds. Images were taken on January 16, 2015.

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Going for the prey!

 

Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, lemmings, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other birds such as shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, and pheasants.

Nesting: The female builds a nest on a mound with good visibility.  She scrapes away the top layer of soil and, over several days, presses her body into the ground to make a depression.  She will lay a clutch of 3 to 11 eggs and incubate them for about 5 weeks.  Both parents will defend the nest and care for the hatchlings which are born pure white.  The same nest may be used year after year.

Notes: Snowy owls are considered the heaviest owl in North America, weighing about a pound more than its closest contender, the Great Horned Owl.  A snowy owl was featured in the Harry Potter series when Harry received his pet, Hedwig.  It is also the official bird of Quebec.

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Going for the prey!

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Going for the prey!

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Going for the prey!

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Going for the prey!

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Across the ice to a hunting perch!

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Across the ice to a hunting perch!

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

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Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Hunting

Takes flight potential prey!

Takes flight for potential prey!

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Two Snowy Owls in this image, doc shot.

Two Snowy Owls in this image, doc shot.

Snowy Owls and more near the Horicon Marsh on January 14, 2015

I decided to make a run up to Horicon Marsh this morning. I had not been up there yet this winter and it was time. I met Dave Frerik up there early am and we had an exciting morning with  2 Snowy Owls, at least 6 Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harrier and a couple of American Kestrels being the highlights.  Gloomy day with just a few snow flurries and cold temps, definitely felt like winter.  Images were taken on January 14, 2015.

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Snowy Owl, female

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It captures a vole here, it is in the front!

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Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

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Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee on January 4, 2015

I did some birding today along the lakefront in Milwaukee and there was a little excitement. The Snowy Owl was present at the Lake Express and gave nice views. After about 15 minutes it took flight to its normal hangout. Mike W showed up and we hit Jones Island as a place he suggested. Mike picked out a American Wigeon right away. Also present were 5 male Northern Pintails, 4 male American Black Ducks, a male and female Wood Ducks that stayed hung tight together. Other species present about 300 Mallard Ducks, some Common Goldeneyes, Lesser Scaups and Common Mergansers. I hit a few beaches and the normal common gulls. Lakeshore State Park had 3 Glaucous Gulls. All and all a fun day out birding other than the falling snow and winds. Some documentation shots. Images were taken on January 4, 2015.

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Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle

Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle, Lakeshore State Park doc shot

Glaucous Gull (1) 1st winter

Glaucous Gull (#1) 1st winter Lakeshore State Park – doc shot

Glaucous Gull (#2) 1st winter right, Glaucous Gull (#2) 2nd cycle left - doc shot Lakeshore State Park

Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle left, Glaucous Gull (#2) 1st winter Lakeshore State Park – doc shot

American Wigeon, rare sight on this date, doc shot

American Wigeon, rare sighting on this date, doc shot

Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee Wisconsin November 29, 2014

I made a run into Milwaukee to see the Snowy Owl at the Lake Express that had been reported. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Snowy Owl was no where to be seen. I birded other parts of the lakefront with nothing major to report. I stopped at the Lake Express one more time before leaving the lakefront and the Snowy Owl was present. It was sitting out near a pipe, moved 10 feet from that location in the next couple hours and remained a very long distance from the best viewing point. The first Snowy Owl sighting of the season is always a special treat no matter how far away it is from viewing. It was a pleasant day out on the lakefront with mild temps, some sun early and low winds. It was a fun day too seeing some old birding friends and meeting some new. Images of the beautiful female Snowy Owl were taken on November 29, 2014.

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Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, lemmings, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other birds such as shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, and pheasants.

Nesting: The female builds a nest on a mound with good visibility.  She scrapes away the top layer of soil and, over several days, presses her body into the ground to make a depression.  She will lay a clutch of 3 to 11 eggs and incubate them for about 5 weeks.  Both parents will defend the nest and care for the hatchlings which are born pure white.  The same nest may be used year after year.

Notes: Snowy owls are considered the heaviest owl in North America, weighing about a pound more than its closest contender, the Great Horned Owl.  A snowy owl was featured in the Harry Potter series when Harry received his pet, Hedwig.  It is also the official bird of Quebec.

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