Going far afield in search of native trout or a bird not usually found in the area is fun, but there is something wonderful when they come to us. I had the pleasure recently of seeing a Great Gray Owl for the first time in my life close to home in Newport, NH. Great Gray Owls are the largest owls in North America and an outdoor friend and I have had it on our target list for many years. This particular bird has been hanging out in Newport since late January and has created a stir among local birders, wildlife photographers and people who just appreciate wildlife. Many birds are migratory, while others are permanent residents. A third group displays nomadic behavior. Barred Owls, which are the most common species in the southern New Hampshire and Vermont, establish year-round territories. Great Grays, along with several other northern owl species, have nomadic behavior and during certain winters there are irruptions to lower latitudes. The Great Gray Owl is is a boreal forest species and its normal range is throughout Canada and into Alaska. Although scientists don't fully understand irruptive behavior, it is thought that at least part of the reason for this movement south during certain winters has to do with food scarcity to our north and food availability here during those years. Even during these irruption years, however, rarely do these owls go farther south than the northern part of New Hampshire and Vermont. For whatever reason this bird kept flying and seems to like Newport. The day I was there she put on quite a show, including pouncing on a vole and gulping it whole. I watched for an hour and took some pictures and went away with cold hands and a warm heart; it was one of those special days.