This spring, when I learned about Great Horned Owls nesting in Edmonton’s parks, I immediately took interest. I’ve only ever seen owls in captivity and really wanted to see one in the wild. So I took my camera and set about finding the owls in Rundle Park. With some assistance from a person who looked like a bird watcher, I located three juvenile owls that had already left their nest in a tree with a parent hidden further up the tree. They were bundles of fluff and it gave me a lot of joy photographing them.
With this experience behind me, I went looking for owls along the trail system of the Whitemud Ravine. Shortly after I entered the Ravine, I had an incredible stroke of beginner’s luck – my first time out, I actually heard an owl hooting and was led by the sound straight to an owl!
The owl I found was a Barred Owl. It is famous for its distinctive “Who cooks for you” call that I was listening to: https://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Barred_owl/sounds Over a number of visits, I learned from others that this owl had lost its mate and thus was likely vocalizing more than usual in an attempt to attract a new one. In the early spring, the owl had a couple of favourite perches right next to the trails and was easy to find. Now, it likes to hide in the bush and is more difficult to find.
Talking to birders while checking out the Barred Owl, I learned the location of a Great Horned Owl nest along another part of the Whitemud trail system. I found the location and was pleased to find two juvenile owls still in the nest with a parent. Every now and then a little owl would very cutely pop up its head and look out the nest. The little owls grew with each visit, until I came back and they’d moved out.
I went on a morning walk today without my camera, so naturally, I find the barred owl and the duck with ducklings I’d been looking for over the past week. So I made do with pictures from my iPhone.
The owl I listened to from the path as I walked, and when I was close, I went into the bush to look for it. I’d been hearing the owl off and on for about 10 minutes, but the owl quit hooting upon my entering into the bush. Fortunately, it was cool out and so I was covered from head to toe, since the mosquitoes were out, full force. After searching for a bit, I had pretty much gave up on finding the owl, and diverted to looking for a strange sounding bird. It turned out the strange sounding bird was a regular small bird harassing the owl. Because I locked eyes with the owl at about the same time I found the little noise maker which looked to be a nuthatch.
The ducklings were almost black with spots the first time I saw them, extremely cute but in a distance and the water was reflecting so it was hard to get a picture of them. This time they were close but I only had my iPhone on me. The photos turned out poorly, but I’m posting them anyways, along with the first chipmunk I’ve ever seen in a tree.
I set up Crooked Paths when I realized I wanted my own blog site after listening to a popular author make a compelling argument about how everyone should have their own blog. It resonated deeply as I thought about how I’ve had a web presence in the past and I wanted a presence once again. A place to post my pictures, my thoughts and what I learn. Despite being retired, I keep reading productivity books and this will give me a place to write about what I learn and a reason to use any new insights I might have.
I chose the domain name “crookedpaths.ca” when I wasn’t able to use my original choice of “lifespaths.ca”. As this and the coronavirus has made clear, life never proceeds in the straight path we imagine it will. On further consideration, I’ve realized Crooked Paths is actually a much more fun name and I can use it to create fun subdomains like lifes.crookedpaths.ca or my.crookedpaths.ca!