I went out on the MacNamara Trail yesterday, for the first time in ages, and bumped right into the above beautifully magical individual. I had seen a pic someone had posted locally a few weeks ago of, I presume, this owl. I hadn’t seen mention since, but was wondering aloud before I hit the Trail about how to find one of these creatures. I’ve not stumbled upon one, at least to my knowledge, previously. Where do I look? What time of day do these people who see owls go out? Well, it was afternoon when I chanced upon this one. Last night on the Trail’s fb page, I noticed someone had posted a pic several days ago of a barred owl there. So, it seems, at least one barred owl has taken up residence visibly on the trail. I suppose s/he was rather sleepy during the time of my arrival- I saw a large bird swoop upward into the trees. Could be an owl, I thought. Or maybe a hawk- I’ve seen one in the neighbourhood in the last few years. I paused- I wanted to see if s/he might return relatively quickly. It didn’t appear the individual had flown far- the rate of speed utilized indicated otherwise- so I figured s/he was likely near. Whether I’d be able to spot her was another matter. I told the chickadees I was going to see if the porcupines were home, but I’d be back later. Off I went, slowly, wondering where the owl might be when, suddenly, I looked up and there s/he was, perched serenely on an arched branch, directly above the trail, I’d say, less than 50 feet from where I’d left. Looking down with interest from double arched branches directly above the trail, the image suggested to me a “Welcome to the MacNamara Trail”. S/he graciously posed for photos. I decided s/he would be tolerant of a direct address and so proceeded with,
“I guess you’re used to people, here,” or something of the like. I think I took some more footage before s/he calmly flew back in the direction she had commenced from. I gave my thanks, audibly, as I do, and continued on my way to check on the porcupines. It was quickly obvious no one had ventured their way in some time. The snow was significantly over my boots on their trail. Back tomorrow with my snowshoes! I decided, and turned back to see if I might be able to find the owl once more. I did, and s/he allowed more photos and video and was so wonderfully open and interested. S/he turned away a few times, nodding off, I thought, but then would turn back toward me and give me a little more attention. I filled my memory card and then stayed just watching. I moved closer, heading in the direction of home, slowly, and the majestic creature took flight once more. That was enough.
I was back on the trail today with my wooden snow shoes- fantastic contraptions they are, indeed. No sign of the owl. A few squirrel tracks, instead. So, they’re enduring, it seems. All was quiet with the porcupines. The den didn’t appear to be occupied just then, but difficult to say one way or the other unless you actually see their white quills in the dark space. I didn’t take notice of any, today. There were some apparent trails there, though, so I think they are using the den, generally. The weather was turning and it was snowing heavily when I left. I had figured that might end up the case, earlier, when the friendly owl was notably absent from view. Sleeping in a tree, maybe, today.