Wednesday, February 24, 2021

The Daily visits of a Barred Owl

It has been a week now since this majestic Barred Owl showed up at my bird feeders. Usually she comes in the early morning, at the crack of dawn and sits for hours on my garden fence or post - patiently observing her environment, turning her head every which way! But her attention is mostly aimed at the ground underneath the feeder where some rodents live underneath the snow, benefitting from the spilled sunflower seeds. 
I am surprised that the chickadees and other smaller birds are not intimidated by this big owl. They keep coming to the feeder in spite of her presence.

It has come to my attention that these owls come to the feeders when they are having a hard time catching mice in their usual environment. It has been especially difficult after the recent cold spell here in northern Wisconsin and some owls were starving and needed help from wildlife/raptor centers. 

At first I was concerned that this owl was in trouble but she appeared healthy looking. Finally her patience payed off and I did see her eating a mole and also was able to get a few photos. 
The following photos were taken through my kitchen window over a period of several days. The light was different each day and my personal favorite are the photos with the falling snow. 
I am so fascinated by the black eyes that almost appear to be liquid and the many facial expressions. I can't take my eyes off that beautiful owl and enjoy her visits every day!!
I made a short video that I posted on YouTube: https://youtu.be/IRVD6obTPKY 
The most recent photos are not included in the video but are at the end of this blog post.

Thanks for viewing and I hope you enjoy this owl as much as I do - Susanne  

Click on the photos for a larger view



Look at these feet and claws!

I liked the touch of frost in her face - it was a very cold day!


The sunshine feels good



sitting on top of the bird feeder

Love the mood on this snowy day - and those eyes!!



Getting ready to fly on the ground




Success - she caught a huge mole!





She looks so content, after eating the mole








 

Friday, February 19, 2021

Winter trip along Lake Superior's north shore

 
We happen to pick one of the coldest day in the winter of 2021 (February 14 &15.) to go on a short trip to the north shore of Lake Superior (Minnesota). We wanted to see the sea smoke that floats like fog across the surface of the lake when it gets really cold. We did get to see some but more on the horizon as the lake had frozen closer to the shoreline. 

On the morning of the 15th I find myself standing at the icy shore near Split Rock lighthouse, waiting for the sunrise and trying to stay warm. The thermometer in the truck said -17 F (-27 C) but it feels much colder. Later I heard that it was -40 F (-40 C) at some places near my home in northern Wisconsin!! I was able to take a few photos before both my camera batteries quit working, my cell phone died and my fingers froze! I had to go back to the truck to warm up. It took an hour for the batteries to work again and by then the magical light was gone. 

We continued on with our trip, stopping at various places and thoroughly enjoying the abundance of sunshine, the ice and cold temperatures. It takes some time to get dressed with several layers of clothing, hats, gloves, mittens, hand warmers, ice cleats etc. but it is so worth it. 

I have been to Lake Superior during the winter months many times but every year is different. The ice formations are never the same - it feels like visiting nature's "art gallery" and you never know what to expect.

Enjoy this selection of the wonderful frozen world!

Thanks for viewing - Susanne  

Click on the photos for a larger view






Sea smoke rising

Sunset at Split Rock lighthouse


Sunset at Split Rock lighthouse, Ellingsen Island

Blue Hour at Split Rock lighthouse

Dawn at Split Rock lighthouse

Very cold sunrise at Split Rock lighthouse

Ice lit by the rising sun, at Split Rock lighthouse

Very cold sunrise at Split Rock lighthouse, Ellingsen Island

Sunny winter day at Split Rock lighthouse

Sunny winter day at Split Rock lighthouse

Little Sea Stack 

Little Sea Stack

Evening at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Evening at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Blue Hour at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Dawn at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Sunrise at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Sunrise at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Golden light at the "Tombolo" near Grand Marais

Interesting ice formation - how did this happen??

Winter day at Sugarloaf Cove with cedar trees

Winter day at Sugarloaf Cove with cedar trees

Winter day at Sugarloaf Cove with birch trees