Yesterday after I got my car tire fixed at The Tire Shop in Cook, I took my little “birding route” over to US Hwy 73. I go south on CR 25 (sometimes stopping at the Cook sewage lagoons, which can produce some great birds) to Leander Road. From there I go west to Plum Creek Road. This route takes you through some great habitat. It’s quite boggy with some farm fields thrown in for a little variety. Today it was all quiet on the back roads.
As I was in the birding mode, I took my time once I got on 73. Driving slow through what I call the Miracle Mile, that is around Mile Markers 112 and 111, I saw a bird fly up from the side of the road. I knew immediately from the head profile that it was a Great Gray Owl! Whoo Hoo! I turned the car around and got a quick look at the Owl before he flew back in the woods.
The traffic on this road is minimal, which is good because there really aren’t any wide shoulders to pull your car off onto. I got out of the car to try for a better look and I could hear the Chickadees having a fit. I knew the Owl was probably not far away. I took a couple steps to the right and there he was! I would have been a great photo if I’d had my camera along. There were several Chickadees perched quite close to the Owl, scolding him.
Then along came a group of White-winged Crossbills! They sat up in the tops of the Spruce trees giving me a good look at their white wing bars.
The Owl sat there for a little bit, then he took off into the woods. Watching the Owl deftly fly into the thick woods was awesome.
Great Gray Owls have been pretty scarce this winter season in Minnesota. I felt really lucky to get to see this guy in the light of day. Yesterday was a dreary day and it was drizzling at the time I saw the Owl.
I don’t have any photos of a GGO, but here’s one that my sister-in-law took during the big invasion in 2004/05.