Friday, March 8, 2013

Great Gray Owl Photos

This past week I took Christine to see a Great Gray Owl.  We spent the day watching it, taking pictures and video, and enjoyed our quiet time as the girls played with Grandma back home.  Below is a 2 minute video combining the most exciting views from that day. We hope you enjoy.

Great Gray Owl
 The actions of a few individuals viewing this owl were not legal and deemed unethical by many in the birding community.  These actions were observed by many and have been discussed in discussion forums heavily the past two weeks. While observing the owl on two different days I did get out of my car to talk to others, but remained in the car quiet most of the time.  I was reminded in these interactions the definition of ethics is subjective and differs greatly by individuals. There are many deciding guiding principles that could be used when a group of people get together, ranging from groupthink to use of social norms. Actions can be guided by a governing group such as the American Birding Association, but only if people know about the expectations.  Most viewers of this blog are not birders, so please take the time to follow this link and read about ethics in birding. I hope other vested parties use this experience as an education experience, both for others and themselves.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

National Eagle Center

Michaela and Danielle love the National Eagle Center in Wabasha. Perhaps it is in support of their dad and my birding hobby, perhaps it is because of the awesome eagles, or perhaps it is just because they love all the excellent activities geared toward families and kids.  Regardless of the reason, we met Grandma Cindy there on Sunday for the Soar with the Eagles festival and attended a Wild World of Animals show.  

The Eagle Center is a wonderful place to visit and cause to support, we've been members since moving to the area a couple of years ago. I hope everyone takes the opportunity to experience the knowledge, passion, and enthusiasm of the volunteers and employees.  Below is a slideshow of the day. If you don't like snakes you should turn away for 11 seconds at 0:42 in the video with Michaela taking a photo. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Festival of Owls

This afternoon we attended the 2013 International Festival of Owls in Houston.  The event was amazing! There was a full house for the live animal show this afternoon and the girls were able to get their faces painted.  Click play on the slideshow below to see 43 photos.

Yesterday I saw a Great Gray Owl, as did many others, in Wisconsin. You can see the Owl on the far left hand side of the photo perched in the tree. 
Here is a closer look at the bird. Many of you will recall the 2005 irruption of Great Grays, were I first saw one at Trouts! It is interesting to see how people flock to owls, how we observe them, and how they captivate our hearts and mind.

Swim Lessons

Michaela and Danielle are half way through four-week swim lessons in Winona. The girls love water and we hope that as they are getting older they will be able to swim rather than just play in it. These lessons seem to better fit the girls desires and interest in actual swimming rather than dealing with our fears as parents. The links below represent lessons from Madison and Marshfield and toddler lessons.

The video from 2009 still causes my heart to skip a beat remembering the feeling as Michaela went under water.

These photos from 2011 show Danielle fairly reluctant but Michaela's enjoyment.