I am going to break this up into two posts, as I have so many pictures.
We had a great day on Saturday. We met up with our friends Happy Wombat Boy* and Nature Boy* in lovely Millhaven, Ontario, home of the Millhaven Institution, aka the Millhaven Penitentiary. Okay, technically Millhaven Institution is in Bath, but whatever. It's, like, five seconds away from Millhaven.
But we were not there to visit inmates. Millhaven is where you catch the ferry across to Amherst Island. And on Amherst Island, there are owls and many other lovely birds to see!
*(not their real names. Duh.)
Like this chickadee feasting on peanuts on my head! But more on chickadees later.
We took the car ferry across to the island. There was a channel dissecting the frozen waters of Lake Ontario. Nature Boy commented on how the water looked like a giant Slushie. I agreed, and hoped the ferry would not spring a leak. Thermal underwear, check. Survival gear, uncheck.
Once we arrived on Amherst Island, the binoculars and spotting scope were whipped out, and the owl prowl began.
It was a gorgeous winter day but the wind off Lake Ontario was bitterly cold. Thank goodness for warm parkas.
It did not take Nature Boy and Happy Wombat Boy long to spy this most magnificent...
What a beautiful creature. It obligingly stayed put for quite some time, allowing us to ogle it and take photos through the spotting scope. These owls are not particularly common. I have only ever seen two other owls in the wild, a Great Horned owl and a Barred owl. I know we have Great Horned owls on our farm, because I can hear them hooting in the woods in spring.
All that walking around staring at owls in the frigid cold worked up a powerful appetite. Since there are no dining establishments open on the island in winter, we packed our own lunches. Gordon is putting together some delicious chicken, chipotle mayo, avocado and tomato sandwiches on sourdough baguettes. Mmmmmm!
And our friends brought along classy Toronto treats! From left to right, Guinness cupcakes (YUM!!), Rocky Road cupcakes, salted caramel chocolate cupcakes, and butter tarts. I had a Guinness and a caramel cupcake. MmmmMMMmmmmMMMMMMmmmm!
I am still mustering up the courage to try a durian candy. I need a spitoon handy, just in case.
Then it was off for more birding. A flock of snow buntings flew over the lake as we walked by.
On the island, there is a nature reserve called Owl Woods. It is privately owned but if you follow the posted rules, you can go in and look for owls.
I saw an old nest loaded with snow.
The sun was bright and beautiful!
Somebody regularly breaks a trail. There go my boys!
"Is there an outhouse in there?"
More soon, but first, a video of the gorgeous owl, shot through the spotting scope in a rather strong wind!