A walk in the woods in early spring

I need to specify early spring because we do have four seasons distinctly. And with each passing day, there are nuanced changes, if not the obvious. Last week we still had snow on the ground but yesterday it went up to 18C (64F), very warm for us at this time.

The Pond had melted, but for some reasons I didn’t see any ducks yesterday afternoon. A walk in the forest made up for it. The woods were teeming with life, birds chirping and Canada geese honking to mark their territory. Here are some of my sightings. Can you ID them all?

What is that in the lower right? Yes, you guessed it… a porcupine up on a tree. This is not the first time I see a ball of a porcupine high on a tree branch. A natural ‘Do Not Disturb’ notice… as if saying, ‘just let me sleep it off.’

But here’s the highlight. I was walking in the woods when a few geese flew by flapping wildly and then I saw something not exactly like a Canada goose but… an owl, a Great Horned Owl, landing on the familiar owl’s nest high up on an old tree cavity, that same spot where generations of owls had nested to breed but had been abandoned in the past few years:

The air b&b is being occupied once again! Papa Owl checking to see the home is secure for Mama and her babies. Then he noticed me, and quickly gave me a nasty stare: ‘Whatcha looking at?’


And then he flew right at me. In a split second, I decided to just stand there and watch instead of raising my camera to capture the owl in flight coming directly at me. I wouldn’t have time to frame and adjust my camera anyway. I was too stunned and didn’t want to lose the chance of seeing a Great Horned Owl heading straight at me wing spreading 4 feet wide.

So, no photo for what could have been a marvellous shot if I’d the time and the autofocus of my camera had worked fast enough. No visual to share, but the picture in my mind is indelible.

Good that Papa Owl wasn’t aggressive. He glided past me, yes, brushed past, just flew by a couple of feet beside me and then up a tree. From there he stayed on a branch to watch his home… as he always has, a loyal sentinel.

Anything can happen during a walk in the woods. This time it’s bringing me back to the very basic of seeing, just with my naked eye, and store the solitary experience in a personal vault devoid of any digital or hard copy… so, no need to declutter in the future.

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Arti

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.

16 thoughts on “A walk in the woods in early spring”

  1. What an unbelievably magical experience with the owl. I think I would have been terrified he would attack me! I’m not sure I could have stood still! There is something about a photograph of the mind that is indelible. (Your other photos are pretty darned fantastic, too!)

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  2. Thanks for this most wonderful stroll through nature and for the pictorial share. Lovely! I’m glad you experienced PapaOwl in flight, experiences are just for the eye to capture and store for memory.

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  3. 18C is mad! It is about 11 here at the moment. I have never seen an owl in the wild before. The camouflage is amazing, what a well spotted photo opportunity. Yesterday I saw a solitary heron by the river. They are trying to reintroduce more wildlife to our nature areas but still few and far between.

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    1. You know, Denise, our provincial bird is the Great Horned Owl. Not that it’s easily seen. People still get excited when spotting one, as I do. We have the Great Blue Heron here. Wonder if it’s the same kind as you have there. As for the weather, it’s temperamental. We can get snow even in May/June. Anyway, I’ve learned to enjoy whatever I get. 😉

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  4. Your experience with the owl certainly was memorable. Annie Dillard talks about the difference between walking with a camera and going without, and there’s no question that some experiences don’t require a camera be remembered. I will say that I found the porcupine photo just as entrancing. I’ve never seen one of those creatures, and I had no idea they could take to the trees. If I ever have the chance to see one, it would be as wonderful as seeing an owl!

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    1. Some years ago I saw one in the winter and it was going around in circle in the snow, apparently lost. That’s was quite a sight. But I wouldn’t want to have a close encounter with a porcupine though. Watching from afar is fine with me.

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  5. What a delight to hear all the sounds and sights of life returning. Not that there was no life during your winter… but much quieter. Very cool that the nest is occupied and that Papa Owl waved a hello to you.

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