For the past few months I have been hoping to get a photo of a short-eared owl. Yesterday I drove back to a place (for the third time) where one was reported. Still no luck.
I tried to enjoy the drive in the country by driving slowly on the dirt roads, sometimes listening to music that I like, always binoculars and photo gear ready.
I stopped for a pheasant on the side of the road eating gravel. I got out of the car, flight lens in hand hoping to get a
flight shot. As I walked closer, he took off too soon and I missed the shot. I scanned the fence posts and small trees in the fields looking for owls. Off in the distance, I saw of herd of about twenty- five deer. This was an incredible sight for me since I usually just see one or two. A flock of about twenty-five snow buntings flew up and away as my car approached. They were too far gone to get a photo. I came over a hill and to the right on the edge of the woods was a Red-tailed hawk eating a raccoon. Finally, I was able to get a good shot.
I continued to drive slowly and saw what I thought was a herd of reindeer! It was an elk farm. There must have been about fifty elk- a beautiful, unusual sight for Minnesota. I took a photo of an antlered elk backlit in the sun.
Even though I saw no short-eared owls, I enjoyed the morning and will continue to look for them. There is so much that I find beautiful in the stark winter fields: short stubbles of corn husks in the snowy fields- rows of yellow and white contrasting colors, pale yellow grasses, weeds and thistles. Someday I will take the time to photograph this beauty.