Saturday Snapshot Nov. 29: Brrr… arred

It’s -24C now as I type, and it’s not even winter yet.

I haven’t ventured out to the woods in such temperatures. But I’m happy to report that a few days ago, I made a couple of first-time sightings. The title is a big hint. I’ve posted The Great Horned Owl before, but never this one. This is the first time I see…

A Barred Owl:

The Barred owlHere’s the sequence how it (not sure if she/he) turns its head almost 180 degrees from left to right:


Straight ahead

RightThe Barred Owl has been described as ‘handsome’, with ‘soulful’ eyes. I’d say this one looks ghostly, or, a bit like a colourless Russian Doll. It blends so well with the bare branches under the dull, grey sky.

Another first for me is spotting the American Three-toed Woodpecker. It was high up on a spruce tree, so couldn’t actually count the number of toes. But, from its plumage I knew I’d just seen something relatively rare, for us anyway.

I can ID her from her barred ‘laddered’ back, black wings, and the lighter-barred sides. It’s a female because the male would have a yellow cap on his crown. Now that would be more photogenic with a spot of colour in a black-and-white landscape, but I’m glad just the same:

Barred back

Lighter barred chest

The head is blurry because she was pecking away.

Not a colourful collection of photos but my wish was fulfilled with this part of the woods, sighting two new (for me) species of birds for which I’ve been searching these past weeks, upon tips from other birders. Another amazing evidence of the richness of life in the woods even when shrouded in cold and grey.


Saturday Snapshot is hosted by West Metro Mommy Reads. CLICK HERE to see what others have posted.

All Photos in this Post Taken by

Arti of Ripple Effects

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If she’s not birding by the Pond, Arti’s likely watching a movie, reading, or writing a review. Creator of Ripple Effects, bylines in Asian American Press, Vague Visages, Curator Magazine.

35 thoughts on “Saturday Snapshot Nov. 29: Brrr… arred”

  1. We have begun hearing the owls at night. They are on their southern migration for winter hunting grounds and hang here in southern New Hampshire, but seem to move around a lot during the winter. Every once in a while, we’ll go out at night and go looking for them when they seem to be hanging close in near the house. It’s always exciting to see them.


    1. Susan,

      I’ve heard the Great Horn Owl hoot. And the sound echoes through the wood and quite amazing, and haunting. This Barred Owl sat there quietly, albeit not for too long and it just slowly flew away. What an experience for me. 😉


    1. lostandfoundbooks,

      You’re right… I feel privileged. That’s why I love walking through the woods, not in -20’s temp. though. Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comment. 😉


  2. I love barred owls! I remember finding one on a hike down a rarely used trail. The owl caught my attention because he was moving around watching me! I must have been messing with his hunting or perhaps stirring up goodies….


    1. Michelle,

      The owls I’ve seen are very stationary on the branch. That was quite an active Barred Owl you saw, stalking you like that. Where was this? in OK or ON?


    1. Ginny,

      Yes, I was glad I happened to be there. Have been looking for this one for weeks and here it was sitting right there not far from where I parked my car, as if to welcome me to the woods. 😉


  3. Owls are rare where we live. Or at least sightings are rare. Several years ago we had one in one of our trees in our yard, she/he stayed for 3 days then was gone. We have not seen one since. I don’t even know what kind it was. But I loved looking at it just quietly sitting very still.


    1. jkb4664,

      It’s not common here either, that’s why we’re so fascinated by owls too and I’m so happy to have spotted one. You’re right, very quiet and still. But, wait till you hear them hoot. It’s awesome.


  4. What great birds you get to see in the great white north! Those owl photos are sensational, I know how exciting it must have been to see it, and I’d be excited with the woodpecker too- we don’t have any here. You asked about B&W photos- it’s very easy to change them. I have a Mac, and when you edit a photo in iPhoto there is a tab called effects, and you just select black and white. Very occasionally I get very fancy and adjust the contrast too, but most of the time the computer changes them well enough for me. If you don’t have a mac I’m not sure how easy it is but imagine that there would be something in whichever photo editing program that you use.


    1. Louise,

      Thanks Louise, sounds really easy indeed, unlike in the old days when we had to buy b/w films and got them developed. Yes I work on a Mac. I’ll try it one of these days. As for the owl, I was just in the right place at the right time. As I parked the car I saw this woman looking up a tree, not moving for a while, then I knew she must be gazing at something. I’d wanted to leave the place just after I parked because it was so cold and gloomy that day. So glad I didn’t.


    1. You know, I was so far away I couldn’t see any markings, just shot the photos. Only after I uploaded them onto my laptop did I see clearly what he/she really looked like. From afar, it was kind of an eerie sight. But now that you mention it, yes, quite like a scarf. 😉


  5. I love your comparison with the Russian doll. As soon as I read it, I thought, “Perfect!” Now, if only you could unstack it and find more little owls inside.

    I’d not heard of this woodpecker. How lucky you were to find the pair. I’d say it might be the universe giving you a little reward for being willing to go hang out in that weather. Oh, my gosh.

    Some of your friends have come to visit me. I left a link to a photo from my trip in my response to your comment over on my blog. I’ve got an amateurish video, too, that will provide some of the sights and sounds — as soon as I figure out how to get it posted.


    1. Wow! What a picture you’ve taken on that flock/crowd of birds! Where’s this place? Are they cranes? or ? What an amazing sight! More photos? Maybe your next posts…

      And yes, the Woodpecker is an American Three-toed. Must have originated from your country.

      I took these photos a few days before the Arctic chill, so the temp was not that cold, but gloomy still as you can see from these photos. But this week it has warmed up and now today starts off bright and sunny. So, I might go out and see what I can find in the woods, despite still – 10C or so.


        1. Oh that brings out a deep memory for me… I remember reading that little book The Snow Goose by Paul Gallico in a junior high English class back in HK. That was a moving story, setting in Dunkirk. Now here right in North America, even though not my neck of the woods. Thanks for this, Linda!


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