Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Address: 1 Leslie Street
Date: April 2018
Snowy Owls are large white owls that spend most of their lives up in the Arctic. They are usually found in Alaska and the territories of Canada. We traveled to Churchill, Manitoba which is almost as far north as Nunavut and hoped that we might see one there. We were not so lucky. They breed even further north still, even as far as the top of Greenland. In the winter they do come south and this is when you might see them in southern Ontario. We had heard that some owls were out on the Leslie Spit in Tommy Thompson Park so we went to try and spot one.
It gets very cold out on the spit which juts out into Lake Ontario so most people don't get too far in the winter. Snowy owls like the terrain out there as it reminds them of the Arctic tundra they usually call home. Since snowy owls are almost completely white it is very hard to spot them in the snow. It is still a difficult task even when the snow has gone. This photo could have contained an owl but it is just a tree stump.
Owls do like to perch on something where they can survey their territory. In the photo above a seagull is doing the exact same thing an owl might do. Sorry seagulls, but we already see you everywhere we go by the lake.
On our first very cold outing we didn't see any owls. We did see a poor duck who had possibly fallen prey to an owl, or one of the other raptors like a hawk or falcon that frequent the spit.
On our second attempt we came across a photographer who had seen an owl up near the end of the spit. We decided it was worth braving the cold to catch a glimpse of these beautiful birds. It takes up to an hour to walk to the end of the spit and then the same time to get back again. We made it all the way to the end but we didn't see any owls. We suspect that the owls saw us.
While we didn't get to see owls we did get a different view of Toronto. At this point we were further into Lake Ontario than the Toronto Islands. In this photo above you can see the Toronto skyline behind the Island trees.
The third time is the charm. Once again we saw a photographer with a large, zoom camera. We asked if they had seen anything exciting. "There was a snowy owl" they said. They kindly told us that they had seen it just beyond the floating bridge. The floating bridge is usually a good spot to see swans, geese and ducks.
Sorry swans, geese and ducks but today it is all about the owls.
Luck was with us as not too far past the bridge on a long, curved branch sat a female snowy owl. Adult females have the dark barred pattern, while the adult males are almost completely white.
We spent a good deal of time watching the owl watching out across the spit. Unfortunately, we are not designed to sit happily in the cold winds that blow across the lake and decided we must head back.
We took one more look back at the owl. You might be able to spot it in the two curved branches on the left of the tree above.
We were headed back to the warmth of the city. Soon spring will be here and the owls will leave and head back to the cold of the Arctic. Thanks for spending some time down here with us.
Map of Our World
Post # 213