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Posts Tagged ‘Outdoors’

Hello All,

This past April, while exploring one of my favourite wooded areas in Ottawa, Ontario, I was lucky enough to hear a single ‘hoot’ from an owl. I began scanning the trees and searching the area, and minutes later and 50 yards from where I originally heard the call, I came upon a barred owl perched high in a tree.

Within minutes, another barred owl was spotted perched a few trees over. The excitement was quite overwhelming, as I was fairly confident this was a nesting pair.

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The next couple of weeks were spent capturing the behaviour of both owls – including preening, vocalizing, pellet regurgitating, and sleeping. Finally, I discovered the location of the nest. It was in the hollowed trunk of a broken tree, approximately 15 feet up from the ground.

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Listening to the two owls vocalize back and forth was quite the experience. Barred owls have a very distinctive call and they would periodically ‘hoot’ to each other throughout the day. Here is some video footage I captured of an exchange.

On June 11th I discovered three chicks had successfully hatched. My guess is they had hatched approximately 3 to 4 weeks earlier. Here they are in the crowded nest.

This past week I discovered that the first chick had left the nest. It will not fledge for another 3 to 4 weeks, but they are excellent climbers and are classed as ‘branchers’ at this stage. This little one was perched on a downed tree, approximately 30 yards from the nest site. I was fortunate enough to spend almost an hour with it, no more than 10 feet away.

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I was very excited to capture the following footage of this chick, regurgitating two pellets, then jumping on to a tree truck and climbing up some 15 feet.

It has been a wonderful experience observing and documenting this barred owl family. I will be back out in the woods this week, as all three chicks should be out of the nest and interacting with one another and their parents.

Yours in the Outdoors,

Justin

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Hello All,

With the whitetail deer rut in full swing, the last few weeks have provided a great opportunity to capture images of bucks displaying various behaviours. I have been fortunate to find and photograph nine separate bucks over the last six outings, including one big 10-point that I was able to also photograph last fall.

As of this week they are chasing down does, getting into scraps with other bucks and traversing territories. They certainly throw caution to the wind, and I am able to get very close to them in most situations. Mr. 10 allows me to get within 20 feet of him without a care in the world.

This is a tract of public land that is off-limits to hunting, found close to the city centre of Ottawa, Ontario.

Here are a few images I have captured – as well as two short videos I have filmed while out in the field.

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Yours in the Outdoors,

Justin

(click on images to view in full size.)

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Hello All,

I am pleased to announce that my new photographic portfolio website has now launched. This new site will feature all of my images, in specific categories dependant on specie, activity, etc. Simply click on the drop down menu and browse the images you are interested in.

For those that love wildlife, fishing, and hunting scene photography, feel free to check out all of the images on my latest offering.

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Home Page

Click here to be directed to the site: http://www.JustinHoffmanOutdoors.zenfolio.com

Yours In The Outdoors,

Justin

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Hello All,

Although generic only by moniker, the Common Loon is one of the most visually stunning and hauntingly sounding water bird to inhabit North American lakes and rivers. Easily recognizable with their ‘tuxedo’ plumage, these large birds are a definite delight to watch and photograph.

I was fortunate this past week to locate my first nest, with a female sitting atop a single egg. It was hidden amongst the reeds and cattails, less than a foot from the waters edge. It was a rare and wonderful find and I will be checking back this week to see if her little one has hatched.

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Yours In The Outdoors,

Justin

(click on images to view full size)

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Hello Folks,

I was both fortunate and honoured to spend yesterday afternoon photographing four Great Gray owls just fifteen minutes from my home, here in Ottawa, Ontario. The Great Gray – commonly called the Phantom of the North – is a rare visitor to southern and eastern Ontario, with a home range and breeding ground in the northern Boreal forests.

Every four or five years these “ghost-like” birds move southward – usually en masse – typically in search of food. 2012/2013 is the year they have made an appearance once again, although not in as great numbers as one of the largest irruptions, occurring in 2004/2005. Many years not a single bird is spotted, so to spend time with one – let alone four – is truly a rare treat.

In terms of length, the Great Gray owl is the largest owl in North America, ranging from 24 to 33 inches. The wingspan can exceed 60 inches. Much of its size is deceptive, since this species’ fluffy feathers, large head and the longest tail of any extant owl obscure a body lighter than that of most other large owls.

Great Gray owls are very tolerant of daylight and have a relaxed attitude around humans, making them a wonderful photo subject if you are lucky enough to find one.

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Enjoy the Outdoors,

Justin

(click on images to view at full size)

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Hello Folks,

Want to give shed hunting a try but don’t know where to start? Check out this video I put together detailing my tips and tactics to help you find more deer antlers this season. Shed hunting is a fun, healthy, and low-cost hobby that is sure to put hours of enjoyment into the winter and spring months.

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