Owls in Kelowna (and elsewhere)

I have seen more owls since we moved up here in 2014 than I had seen in my lifetime before that. On the other hand, I have yet to see several species that I’m told are not unusual to come across — in other words, I have lots to look forward to. In this section, I’m including some photos from my days at The Coast, where it’s much easier, I think to find the diversity of this special, highly sought after genus.

The two species I have had a chance to observe in Kelowna are the Great Horned and the Long-eared. Let’s start with the latter, which I saw only recently and briefly.

While on my beat around Thomson Marsh, I was alerted by a young gentleman walker that there was an easy-to-see owl only 100 yards away. Here’s what (s)he showed me: my first ever Long-eared Owl. Usually, this species is found in thick cover; I was exceptionally lucky. Gone next day, (s)he left no forwarding address!

Click on any photo to enlarge it….

Great Horned Owls, on the contrary, are frequently found in the Okanagan, and close to where we live. This winter, we had the pleasure of listening to them hoot from an unseen perch very close by at 12:30 AM! Here are a few shots I’ve managed so far. I’ve learned a lot  about capturing them in the process — looking forward to better  capitalizing on future opportunities.

The first group of photos are the best to date, and the earliest! These owls were easy to find in the woods near Munson Pond (once I was shown their location!). They are no longer resident there; some homeless people set up a camp that summer in the very spot  I took these shots.

Folks frequently report owls much closer to home both near the Lower Mission Greenway where we have observed them for the past three winters, and even in various parts of Thomson Marsh. Unfortunately, the perches these closer GHOWs choose are not ideal for photography!

In March of 2016, birders, photographers, and the general public were treated to watching a family of three owlets fledge in uptown Kelowna — in a tall, old pine tree on the grounds of the Courthouse. Here’s my best shot of one of the wee ones (or not so wee by this time!). They all fledged successfully, but we’re not sure what happened to them later on:

Courthouse Owlet - 160317 - 1
It may appear that we were on the same level; we were not! Cropped photos can lie!!

As for the owls we have yet to see such as the Northern Pygmy, Northern Saw-whet, Western Screech, Barred, Barn, and Snowy, Short-eared, and if we’re really lucky, a Northern Hawk-owl, we keep our fingers crossed. Of these I’ve seen all but the first three elsewhere…. The owls below were all found in different location in BC’s Lower Mainland.



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