My friend Laura suggested we explore Ft. Edward Grasslands in New York where there were recent reports of numerous short-eared owls, harriers, rough-legged hawks and a snowy owl! From my house it's about a two hour drive, perfect for a day trip.
here's a link to the spot: Ft. Edward Grasslands IBA
One of the first birds we saw was a "grey ghost", aka a male northern harrier, probably eating a mole or mouse in a field.
We looked for the snowy owl that was being seen off Swamp Road. This snowy really blended in with the scenery!
Driving along the roads we saw numerous harriers, rough-legged hawks, a kestrel and this merlin.
|short-eared owl vocalizing|
We met some other birders who were familiar with the area, they told us to go to Fitzpatrick Drive for the best viewing. Earlier in the day, they had seen 7 short-eared owls in a tree, along with 2 more on the ground. This is a banner year for these owls with reports of up to 15 owls seen this winter. The last such incursion was 2007. The owls were eating well, with many seen with rodents, along the road and eating on the fly!