|Snowy owl, downtown Victoria BC|
Two northern harriers, a red-tailed hawk and a peregrine were patrolling the area and I came across my first western meadowlark of the fall (always a treat).
I noticed a couple of white-throated sparrows along the trail at Hyacinth. We're all getting rather blasé about these ordinarily scarce-ish sparrows this year!
My lunchtime stroll by Langford Lake was unremarkable. Most of the diving ducks had vacated leaving 40+ American coot, up to 20 ruddy ducks and several pied-billed grebes. Curiously, all the ruddies appear to be juveniles or females with no sign of any adult males. There were lots of pine siskins around and a pileated woodpecker made an appearance.
During the day I heard about a snowy owl that fellow expat Pete Boon had discovered near his home in Nanaimo. I've only ever seen one snowy owl - a bird that I twitched back in 1991 in Lincolnshire. Me and my mate Ziggy drove down in his scabby old Volkswagen Polo to that bleakest of English east coast counties. After a decidedly uncomfortable night trying to sleep in his car on a freezing January night, we spent hours the next morning searching for the owl. We eventually caught up with it, and got fairly decent views of the impressive Arctic predator as it hunted in the semi-distance over a ploughed field.
So, when I heard that a snowy owl had been spotted - get this - on the roof of the Law Courts in downtown Victoria (?!) today, my mind was on a quick getaway from work. As it happened I was due to collect some brochures from the printer and headed there before they closed. That gave me just enough time to drive by the court house and have a quick scan while there was still some light.
|Not exactly snowy owl habitat...|
After I'd had a good eyeful, and taken a couple of snaps, I headed into the court building and took the elevator up to the fifth floor from where I was able to get exceptional views of the owl from the windows overlooking the portion of roof it had chosen as its daytime roost.
Both court staff and visitors off the street were gathering to admire the 1st winter female owl as she sat casually admiring the scenery from her lofty perch.
Not exactly the way I expected to see my second ever snowy owl, but hey - I'm not complaining!