Greater Victoria, Gulf Islands, Cowichan Valley, Nanaimo and Centrial Island, Port Alberni, Tofino, North Island
By ogopogo
Hi kip,
yes, I love your shot. that's Angel, the male heir apparent. He has been granted Beacon Hill Park. we see him around the Bandstand. His brother, rascal Pete, is at Holland Point and the sister Mystery was taken to a new territory by Dad in October. Mom & Dad Barred are still in the SEW, so they'll probably have another batch of owlets late March or early April 2017.
Look forward to seeing you although not much is happening in the woods other than trees falling down. A pine snapped, a rotted chickadee nest tree collapsed. Bartlett Tree Cutters have been in there doing some trimming, particularly the Maple that hangs over the Recycle shed.
Happy owling! C.
By AkaiKitsune
Walking along the highway after midnight. Just after Vanalman there was an owl flying back and forth across the road. Not sure the species despite it trying to decapitate me witha wing as my glasses were broke and I only saw from underneath. Too big to be any of the smaller species. Watched it for about an hour before it moved on but it's been seen up to the royal oak exit by some of the other people I've talked to. At least we think it's the same one, lots of roadkill in that area because of the rabbits so it may be just be young and not having much luck in the hunting department.

There's also a GHO that if you go at the right time you can get within a few feet of its perch. If you take the trail into the woods next to the Ashton Armoury (Vanalman street), follow it down the hill and across the little bridge over the stream. Eventually you get to where the trail splits. If you listen you can usually hear him at this point as he can be quite vocal and it's a nice way to know if he's there before trying to get through the underbrush. You can either go back, go right and eventually reach glanford, or go left. Go left. If you head directly for the stream and where you see the trees have thinned considerably (there's less underbrush too) and walk beside the stream with the water to your right you eventually get to a fallen tree (the path sorta zig zags away from the water at points but by then it's quite clearly a game trail). Walk on top of the fallen tree until you reach the end and plonk yourself down. You should be in a little clearing with a big fallen tree in the middle. If you sit on the tree facing where the main trail is (so your feet are dangling over the same side not straddling it) look up and to your right (usually) there's a great big bird there. From anywhere else on the trails you can't see him (but he can certainly see you). He doesn't seem to care if there are humans about so long as they don't scare prey away. Some nights he's way up on a branch and others he's almost within reach he's so close. He ignores people. There's no distress calls but once you leave the main trail he usually stops making noise if he was before. Best time I've found is either just before dark or just after. He will sometimes hunt the nearby park (go back to the main trail and follow across the bridge) or he'll be way way down the trail where there's another bridge and an uprooted tree is this weird swampy wetland/forest/small field area near a road though I don't know which road it is(sorry). Lots of mice over there and the occasional rabbit.

Daylight hours you can find an assortment of peckers and the occasional hawk or falcon at the park.

Also, if anybody knows what bird these were please tell me because I find it incredibly odd. I was walking across the bridge heading into the woods when I heard a racket. So me being me I followed it and got the scare of my life when a rabbit ran across and got pounced on by a bird roughly the size of a peregrine, similar colouring. That wouldn't have been much since it happens all the time there. Except when the bird took off (without prey, presumably because it felt I was too close to eat the rabbit with me watching) I followed its flight up into the trees. It was definitely a bird of prey though not one I recognize. Yet there were about a dozen of these birds sitting in the trees making an ear-splitting amount of noise quite clearly visible. Now from what I gather from working at the raptor centre birds of prey are generally solitary though you might see pairs (particularly in mating season). I'm just wondering if there's a species that either migrates in groups or lives in groups. I only saw them the one day and never again.
By brantastic16
Anybody have any updates on owl sightings around Vic? I have been going out to many of the places mentioned so far at various times of day/evening and can't seem to find any. I've been to Beacon Hill Park (southeast woods and field by the petting zoo), Pemberton Park, Kings Pond, Clover Point, Holland Park as well as the Vanalman woods site last mentioned. I've gone a few times to some of these places. I know many of these were mentioned a long time ago and I can't necessarily expect them to still be there of course, but I figured they'd be my best options.

I've been to the Vanalman site mentioned by AkaiKitsune but get lost part way through. What I can't seem to find is the fallen tree. I am able to follow the zig zag trail with the creek on my right and I do reach a clearing, but no fallen tree in the middle. There appears to be a fallen tree just a little bit further into the trail but I certainly can't walk along it to the end with all of the overgrown bush. I am wondering if I am misunderstanding the directions. Is there a garbage bin and plastic ottoman in this clearing? I also checked out the rest of the woods but couldn't find it. I was excited to see a massive bird perch up in a tree but it turned out to just be a heron (still awesome, just a lot more common).

Secondly, I used to visit the family of barred owls that lived in the SE woods of Beacon Hill Park all of last summer. I heard that they're back but can't seem to find them. Any particular tree? And any particular tree at the other locations in which owls have recently been spotted?

Any help would be greatly appreciated! :D
By ogopogo
October 18, 2017
Oct 2, 2017 at 10:56 am a Northern Saw-whet was sleeping at 9 ft in a Hawthorn tree right on the path half-way between the Cuthbert-Holmes fence and the little clearing in Colquitz River Park. The GHOW adults Ollie & Oulette (of Pacific Forestry Centre cam fame from Jan 2013) and their one owlet are seen often there as is the Barred. Saw both Horned & Barred being chased by crows at the same time at King's Pond on Cedar Hill Golf Course in Sept, the Horned in Gov House Woodlands Oct 7, Horned out at Viaduct Flats field, and Western Screech this Spring in a guy's back yard out on Millstream Creek.
Angel, the 2016 BHPk Barred mentioned in a post above, was found dead near Goodacre Lake Apr 2, 2017.
Was standing with an interested owl person in SEW recently and I mentioned the GHOW male used to like sitting in the top of this Big-Leaf Maple half way down Lover's Lane. She moved a couple feet to the right of the bush between us and the Maple and says "there's an owl!". He was right in front of our noses, on the lowest branch, perfectly camouflaged by the bark of the trunk. So, even if you know every tree they like, sometimes you just have to stand around looking.
Happy owling.
By ogopogo
Dec 7, 2017-an owl update

Oct 1-Northern Pygmy Owl seen hunting on a log by a couple hiking the paths below Mt Finlayson at Goldstream Park

Nov 30-UVIC Horned owl pair observed cooing prior to Super Moon Sunday Dec 3 in their chosen nest tree. With an early Spring forecast for Victoria, we may see owlets born as early as late January.

Nov 29-Horned droppings and recent bunny kill seen at Dominion Brook Park, North Saanich.

Dec 5-SEW (south-east woods by totem) Beacon Hill Park-2 Barred seen consistently, Dec 3 watched Mr catch a rat in pines by WR@Cook 945am. oldest son (Ricky) & his new mate (Lady) may have moved to their own territory nearby, not seen since Nov 25, but locals along Cook St area report sightings in their yards. all 4 Barred last seen in the Pk&woods Nov 10.

Dec 6-Barred found in its usual winter tree at Colquitz River Pk. GHOW pair Ollie & Oulette nest outside of this park now, but returned 3 months ago with their 2017 owlet "Dottie" for a short visit. Although it doesn't seem to deter the owls, the highway construction noise is really heavy right now. Happy owling!
By ogopogo
Dec 10_2017 1:48pm Northern Saw-whet sitting in bare magnolia bush with pink dahlias beside it at St Andrews Catholic Church, Blanshard St & View St corner (downtown Victoria). photographed by Mr Williams of Sooke on sookesocialfb and brought to my attention by Chelsea Gillis.
Checking up View St Dec 11 as he probably passed my front door.
By ogopogo
Dec 11-Duncan-Toonie Irvine had a Northern Pygmy Owl land in her back yard cedar where her bird feeders are. See her great shot on weathernetworkdotcom click gallery, then birds. We met Toonie several times in BHPk when the Barred owlets were around.
By ogopogo
January 1_2018 the pristine wilderness of the new Mary Lake Nature Sanctuary in the Highlands was dedicated. this will be a must see area for nature (owl) lovers. it features GHOW, Barred, Northern Saw-whet and Northern Pygmy Owls.
At present, access is limited to guided walks as indicated in the Times Colonist article. You can also see the trail plans, renovations to the house on the property that will become the Nature House, and photos of Mary Lake & the creeks that feed it at MaryLakeconnectionsdotca.
The actual address is 1772 Millstream Rd, left of Thetis Lake. How wonderful the owners since 1947 forward were conservation minded. ... 1.23130315
By ogopogo
Feb 6_2018-Barn Owl spotted hunting at dusk. keep your eyes open at all of our favourite haunts.
Feb 9_2018-did the tour of Albert Head & Witty's Lagoon, then home to a friend's house on Price Bay to find a Barred in the cedar right outside her front door.

UVIC/Mystic Vale GHOW pair have selected their nest tree. checking other known locations for activity.
Barred are still in SEW (south-east woods near totem) of Beacon Hill Park.
By ogopogo
March 5_2018 Christmas Hill GHOW-spoke to the Biologist who lives on the edge of the Hill and was out with his bins. The Horned Owls nested in a squirrel's nest he says (or RTHA nest) left edge of the little meadow by the houses, laid 3 eggs in January but it collapsed in our big wind storm in Feb, breaking the eggs on the ground. If the owls can find another spot (and this is getting to be a problem), they will probably try for a second clutch. Last year they laid 5 eggs with 3 successfully hatching (there is obviously plenty of food available), the owlets hopping around on the neighbours' patios and fences to their delight. That particular tree hole, over by the arbutus tree entrance, collapsed over the winter. I watched the RTHA hunt over Vic Derman Park, so there should be other RTHA nests available. Also heard a California Quail under the blackberry bushes by that sign. Barred also have been up at XHill. Deer out grazing and lots of Steller's Jays and anna's hummingbird around (nesting).
Took a long walk out to Blenkinsop Lake and the farmlands along Lochside Trail, back to Christmas Hill and down into Swan Lake. No other owls seen but Bald Eagle pairs in both locations working on their nests and mating and RTHAs hunting.
By ogopogo
March 8_2018 got some exciting news of tiny owlets (or owls) with ear tufts peaking out of a flicker hole atop a douglas fir. person isn't sure if they are horned or western screech. going to check it out tomorrow.

That Barn owl I mentioned early Feb was at Swan Lake, flying over the reeds hunting at the large bridge. A senior birder said he hasn't seen a Barn owl at Swan Lake for 5 years. It has since moved on.
By ogopogo
March 9_2018 Fri- found the tree. the Mom GHOW is sitting in the hole at top. didn't see any owlets. Dad was hooting softly from 30 ft away.
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