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Great Gray Owl

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  • Arla Eckert
    Great Gray Owl Last week Margaret Houge one of the teachers I do bird programs for told me the highlight bird she had seen over the summer. While camping they
    Message 1 of 5 , Sep 25, 2013
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      Great Gray Owl

      Last week Margaret Houge one of the teachers I do bird programs for told me
      the highlight bird she had seen over the summer. While camping they had
      walked from Moose Park to Lone Tree Park and had seen this Great Gray Owl 3
      times. Needless to say my next question was where is this park. She told me,
      turn off 89 the main rd to Kings Hill after the parking area for the winter
      sports and before the top of the pass. Follow FR 839 past Moose Park. These
      parks are marked on the forest Service off road maps. The next park is Lone
      Tree Park. I got a map and called Jerry Brown whom I knew wanted this owl
      big time. Met her at 2:30 Sunday afternoon in Neihart. We headed to the
      park. Found the right place and found a hunter camped. No owl but he said he
      had been seeing it before the cold weather had come in the late afternoon
      and in the am. We headed on down the road to see more of the area and came
      back to the park just before 6. I turned off the main road and parked along
      the track with the windshield facing the park. I just got my glasses to my
      eyes and I was looking eyeball to big yellow eyeball with it. It was
      sitting on a little fat pine tree across the park from us. Jerry found it
      and we sat and looked at it for a bit. A few trucks when by on the main road
      and it did not move. So I said I am going to move my van so we can get the
      window-mounted scope on it. We both got good looks. The owl then started to
      hunt. It would fly to a little tree top then look at the ground around it
      and then pounced. It did this at least 11 times. On one of the pounces it
      flew up into the big dead tree with dinner hanging out of its beak. It threw
      the critter up in the air and down it went! I think it got food on many of
      the tries due to the time it would spend on the ground. It was so neat to
      see the huge wingspan and how controlled the flight and pounces were. Since
      we were sitting in the van it did not care about us and we got to see it
      doing its normal thing. It was getting dark. We then moved to the main road
      and got some good photo shots of it in the dead tree with the last of the
      daylight. I tried again the next night and saw it but it just sat back in
      the tree line and only came out at 7:15 to hunt. The wind was howling. I
      could not find it in the am after camping at Moose Park. There was ice on
      the puddles in the am. What a near cool bird to see. I think from the size
      it is a male. The teacher saw it there in July. With this cold wet weather I
      think there may be deep snow now up in that park. Arla Eckert Great Falls
    • birder0288
      Hi Mobbers, I spotted the Great Gray Owl at Maclay Flats in Missoula again today. Two Brown Creepers and a Ruffed Grouse were also highlights. Happy Birding!
      Message 2 of 5 , Feb 11 5:24 PM
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        Hi Mobbers,


        I spotted the Great Gray Owl at Maclay Flats in Missoula again today. Two Brown Creepers and a Ruffed Grouse were also highlights.


        Happy Birding!


        Hilary A. Turner

        Missoula MT

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