This time we had 2 friends come visit us, Steppe Wilson from California's Golden Gate Raptor Observatory and bander Debby Wheeler from Vancouver, who last came to the Kalahari with me in 2018.
Steppe arrived first and we set off to our regular sites. Steppe has banded raptors all over the states and has been active at a site in Montana catching Golden Eagles, of which he told us recently they got 14 in one day!!! After seeing a few owls we finally got 2 adult male Snowy Owls last thing in -16 as well as a grumpy Northern Shrike (they are always grumpy)!
It was still early and not cold enough to get the numbers of Red-tail Hawks we had last year, but we got 4 one day at the southern site on Lake Erie including 2 American Kestrels.
Christmas Day we went to Charlotte's sisters and got a festive American Kestrel on the way!
Just Charlotte and I one day at a site just north of Toronto, caught a big female Snowy and taking it off the trap, I noticed it had a rivet band on, a text to Nigel Shaw soon revealed that it had been banded in Montreal 6 years previously as a 2nd year!
With Debby, we had a good first day with 7 Snowy's seen and 2 caught, including 3 Red-tails and a Rough-legged Hawk. The next day we saw 10 Snowy's and caught 3 plus a Red-tail.
At one site we stayed late to try mist net several Short-eared Owls, we around 10 bird hunting, one even landed on a net pole! But no luck.
Charlotte and I went to Meaford, a lovely little town on Lake Huron where our friend Jim and Catherine let us stay in their house whilst they were overwintering in Mexico. Our aim was to explore a new area to the west and we found lots of Owls! The weather was shocking, horizontal gale force winds and driving snow, BUT, we managed to get 6 Snowy Owls and dropped for 12! We also got a Red-tail, that came in from 300m, sideways! And an adult female Rough-legged Hawk at 1.6kg!
Our last session was one of the best. Back to a regular site, new birds had come in and we got 6 Snowy Owls, including a control! a bird that had been banded in New York state as a hatch year in 2013!!
Snowy Owl 23 (2)
Red-tailed hawk 29
Rough-legged Hawk 3
American Kestrel 12
Northern Shrike 7
|a big 'northern' Red-tail adult|
|Charlotte doing what she loves best!|
|lovely adult male|
|Step with an adult male|
|Step and me with a Red-tail|
|Indignation at best!|
|Grumpy at best!|
|American Kestrel male|
|took a break from eating my finger!|
|the Montreal band|
|the rough legs of a Roughie|
|adult female Roughie|
|Debby and I with a double header RT's|
|adult male all white Snowy|
|a Christmas kestrel!|