Thursday, June 16, 2011

Tunkwa Lake Trip – June 11, 2011 – Part 2

Ok, so when the rain was over I set out by myself to see if I could find the Great Gray Owl.  The evening before, while I had been watching the one in the campground, Ernie had been walking Shantz and had seen one in a forested area behind the park caretakers compound…whether we’d both seen the same owl, or if there was a pair…we’re really not sure…

Campground in the afternoon

anyway, with clear skies once again, I set off in the direction of the forested area…


on the way, passed a Chipmunk having a snack…

Yellow-bellied Marmot

and one of the many resident Yellow-bellied Marmots..

Owl in a tree straight ahead

Finally swinging up to the forested area (you’ll note that this ‘forest’ consists mainly of dead trees – that is because this area was ravished by the pine beetle)….there, though, right ahead and in the middle, I immediately spotted the Great Gray Owl…

Looking at me






He/she watched me arrive, but wasn’t terribly alarmed by my presence.  I could hear it’s very low call on occasion and also another, unfamiliar sound which leads me to believe there was a nest somewhere in the immediate area.







after spending a fair bit of time here, just watching, and of course, snapping pictures…I decided I had disturbed the bird enough and headed over towards a little pond up at the back of the campground…

Singing Savannah Sparrow

Passed some Savannah Sparrows on the way, including this singing one…

low down viewofthepond up back

and there is the little pond…there were a number of Canada Geese on it and a few Warblers…

Yellow Rump Warbler

like this male Yellow Rumped…. 

Owl in the campground

was just heading back towards the camper when I spotted – right in the middle of the picture – a Great Gray Owl!  The same one I’d seen up back? or a different one?  I don’t know….

intent on something!

but there it was…intently studying the ground….


more views of it…

as good as they come!

and another…

taking off

and in flight…

on the ground

I do know, that when it caught something, like it had here…it didn’t stop and eat it, but headed back in the direction of the forested area….leading me to believe there were some hungry little mouths to feed somewhere back there.

In the evening, the hunting continued…

June 13'11Canon 013

Posing nicely in the evening sunshine, while thunder rumbled in the distance! 

landing on little tree

At this point, landing on a pitiful little twig of a pine tree….you can see how the bird was right in the campground, yet one of the most amazing and kind of upsetting things, was that I don’t think anyone but myself and my husband even noticed it.  Several people walked within a few feet of it as it went about it’s business…totally oblivious to it’s presence.  Kind of sad.

up close and personal!

But as I mentioned before, the bird was not concerned with people…for this picture, the bird had actually flown towards where I was standing and landed not 8 feet away from me…

Owl, and our camper

here it is perched on a broken tree….the tail light of our camper is just visible on the other side of those trees…

taken from the door of the camper

I was standing in the door of our camper when I took this shot – wide angle, not zoomed at all…

right behind the camper

now it is zoomed from the same spot (that is what a Nikon Coolpix with 36x digital zoom can do for you)…


and then the bird flew even closer….Shantz’ was on her tie out which reached to within about 6 feet of where this bird perched….  Absolutely amazing!  The plan now is to return to Tunkwa on the July 1st long weekend to see if the bird is still there or if there are some youngsters around.

Calling Killdeer

So just a few more pictures to finish up this very successful trip – Killdeer had been running around in the evening, creating a racket which they continue to do, well after dark.

Cut leaf Anemone

Before we left on the Sunday morning, we walked over to Bluff Lake…..notice the Cut-leaf Anemone’s in flower….they were just really starting to bloom.  There is the Aspen Grove or ‘bird nursery’ way off in the distance, never did get there…

Canada Geese

Wouldn’t be a trip to Tunkwa if I didn’t throw in a picture of the many Canada Geese….we saw goslings as well from freshly hatched to much older…all in all, counted over 50 species of birds this trip….the Great Gray Owl, by far the most exciting.

1 comment:

  1. WOW!!
    i am a big fan of your blog!
    Nice pictures and i must say you got reaally lucky with the Great Gray.
    I am planning to go to Tunkwa lake (to find the great gray) in the next month or so.. do you know in which part of the lake does it hang around?
    all the best,