Saturday, April 18, 2009

Evening Visitor

It has been a very busy and stressful few weeks with many activities and commitments, and I have had to completely put this blog aside for awhile.  As busy as it's been, we have enjoyed seeing owls almost each evening on our drive home.  We generally see them perched on the very top of the birch and aspens at the base of our hill, basking in the evening sun about 7:30 pm,  but always far enough away to make them hard to identify.  We often hear the calls of the Great Horned Owls around our house, but have never been lucky enough to see one up close. So imagine our surprise on Wednesday to see a Great Gray Owl perched in a birch tree very close to home!  We stopped to admire him, but realized we didn't have our camera.  We quickly drove home and returned to find him still there, lazily enjoying the sun.  Photos are courtesy of Alyssa.

When we went home, we looked up facts about the Great Grays.  They are the largest owl in North America, with a 60 inch wingspan!  They are quite rare to see, although they are active in the evening hours. (Remember, there is no "night" in Fairbanks in the summertime!)  Great Grays have amazing hearing.  They can hear a vole under 2 feet of snow, and dive in head-first to capture their prey! We were surprised, and none too happy, to find that the Great Horned Owl is the main predator of the Great Gray.

We were happy that the hounds were NOT with us when we saw this magnificent raptor.  Gus is a very visual hound, and would have most definitely tried to climb the tree to sniff the owl, and the coonhounds, well, it's hard to say what they would have done had it moved from the birch tree...

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Pass the Halibut, Please!

What can I say?  Gus loves his halibut!

Yummm!  Later we had deep fried Valdez halibut with a crispy salad.  As for Gus and the other hounds, welllllll..... they didn't!