My wife and I were in Montreal this weekend for our anniversary. After a
great early weekend we decided to stop and check out the Great Grey Owl on the
North-east end of Isle de Montreal, as posted by Julie Hart. The bird is
still there! He/she is the size of, or slightly larger, than Snowy and a
beautiful specimen. The weather was fine today and he/she was not hunched
over or droopy, but very stately and alert today!
If you choose to go, follow Julie's excellent directions to Parc-Nature -
they are 'spot-on', as the English say.. Do pay your $5 parking fee in the
machine in the parking lot and proceed to the visitor's center. The
cheerful person at the counter today spoke great English and was very helpful. The
bird was exactly where she indicated it was last seen. She provided a map
and even marked it with the bird's last known location.
For the record, there is a walking/x-country skiing loop in the park (Bring
your skis!). It is a groomed trail and easily walkable with sensible
footwear. We observed the bird just past where the snowshoe trail crosses this
loop. On the outside (right hand side as you navigate in a counter-clockwise
direction) of the trail-loop, the bird was perched in a mature aspen in an
semi-open field, about 150 feet from the trail. This was near marker number 9 on
the 2 km loop trail. Later on the walk we were also entertained by a
couple of French-speaking locals who fed chickadees from their hands. They used
handfuls of black oil sunflower seeds to attract the birds. Each bird would
swoop down, in true chickadee fashion, one-by-one, perch for a second on the
outstreched hand, grab a seed and fly off!
As we departed, a large flock (~30 birds) or common redpolls were feeding in
the maples adjacent to the parking lot.
Well worth a trip!