In the last week and a half I have had photography opportunities with two of my favourite species. Loons and Owls!

After a snowfall lasting more than twenty-four hours a Barred Owl visited looking for prey around my bird feeders. It moved to several different perches and I was able to get images close to the house. I think it is a female as I compare her to the size of the one that visits a friend’s feeders in Bracebridge.

I opened the window and took a few wide-angle images just to show where she was sitting but the view with the branch of dead oak leaves and the lump of snow wasn’t very attractive. Documentary shot only.

A portrait view eliminated the extras and gave me a good background.

Barred Owl images made with Canon 7D and 100-400 lens. Wide angle at 100mm and portrait at 400mm. Hand held. © Eleanor Kee Wellman

The next day I heard from Janice Enright of “A Wing and a Prayer”, bird rehab centre, that she had a Red-throated Loon that had landed on a road in a snowstorm in Wilno. The bird was rescued by a generous man who drove the bird to Bracebridge where it was exrayed and then fed minnows. I picked it up the next day and released it into open water at Port Carling.

Carefully, I tipped the box on its side, opened the flaps and it jumped down onto the ice, opened its wings wide for balance then into the water. I began preening immediately and dove a few times. I was able to pick up my camera and get a few portraits before it swam out into deeper water. I watched for about half an hour and took a few more shots but it never got close enough or at the right angle for anything but documentary shots again.

© Eleanor Kee Wellman. Canon 7D and 500mm f4 IS lens. Hand held.

It is smaller than our Common Loon with a more delicate beak and soft grey winter plumage. The red eye shows well.

This release gave me a bit of time to calm down after the horror of making my presentation at the Township of Muskoka Lakes Meeting of the Whole two hours earlier. Not a good experience! On my own property noise and air pollution, and loss of privacy are my concerns. Changes in water levels in other wetlands could affect my drinking water. Five species of reptiles on the Species at Risk list are documented on our lake, land and neighbouring lakes and wetlands.

The snow is beautiful with a bit of frost this morning. I missed the ecipse of the moon but saw it clearly in its full state before and after. It was a beautifully clear night for it!

Wishing you and yours Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, Happy Holidays and Health, Wealth and time to enjoy it!

All images in this and every post are the property of Eleanor Kee Wellman and may not be used for any reason without the written permission of the photographer