As always, I have been enjoying my back roads wanderings in the Strathroy area. Even if I don’t see many birds, it is still fun to get out and explore the country roads. There is always the anticipation that something will turn up. At this time of year, it is usual to see Horned Larks, Snow Buntings, and maybe a longspur or two. Raptors are often seen. Rough-legged Hawks from the north seem to like this area in the winter. Red-tailed Hawks are frequently seen. I wonder if these are resident birds that decide to stick it out through the winter, or if they are migrants that find it a good place to hang out. Sometimes, it is possible to find the occasional American Kestrel. And the same is true for Northern Harriers. Short-eared Owls can to difficult to locate, but there have been years that a roost is discovered and then it is fairly easy to go out shortly before dusk and watch them hunt as it quickly gets dark. Some years, Snowy Owls seem to invade southwestern Ontario. North and west of Strathroy is a traditional wintering area for Snowies. Driving Seed and School Roads between Egremont and Cuddy Drives in winter will often turn up Snowy Owl sightings. Tuesday, the 2nd, was a great day to visit this territory. There was no snow on the ground and it was not overly cloudy in the morning. The two owls seen stood out well as they sat way off in the middle of the fields. There was quite a bit of farm activity in the area. Taking in the corn. I would think this would make the owls a little edgy. But there they sat. It could be that there were even more owls around, but not seen. 4 were reported in this relatively small area towards the end of last week.
I generally do not know where I am going to head until I get in the car. South to the Melbourne area; north to Snowy Owl territory. It is all good. No matter where.