Snowy Owl!!!

There is only one Wonderland, but let's also talk about and share photos of other national parks.

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billandkaren
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 pm

Snowy Owl!!!

Post by billandkaren »

I just had to share that Karen and I spotted our first smowy owl ever in January. Though technically not in a park, we wanted to share that we have actually seen this beautiful species. This is in the area where Karen grew up. We were staying with family as she was volunteering to teach an ESL class in the community of Bad Axe, Michigan, located about 150 miles north of Detroit. We were driving some back roads with wind-driven snow coming down pretty good when I saw something large perched on a pole. I pointed it out, thinking hawk or bald eagle. But it didn't look quite right and as we drove past, we could see it was an owl. We both thought maybe a snowy??? So I turned around when I could and as we got close we could see it was definitely a snowy. As we slowed down, It flew off crossing the road just behind our car. So we drove to where we could turn around again and we spotted it perched on a hay bale. Fortunately, there was a dirt "road" near it which we turned down. It then flew across the road in front of our car and because the wind was so strong it decided to land again along side a mound that helped block the wind, giving us a great look. The only camera we had was on Karen's inexpensive phone so we didn't get very good pictures. But you can tell it is a snowy owl.



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Max
Posts: 195
Joined: Sun Jul 23, 2017 12:27 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by Max »

Hooray! Congratulations.

Coincidentally, I was just wrapping up my Manitoba trip with some past clients, and as we were driving back from Winnipeg one of them spotted his very first Snowy out in a field off the highway. After we learned our flights were delayed, we roamed a bit more and found another one. It's always a special experience with that species.

Max



billandkaren
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by billandkaren »

Max, Great for you and your clients. Nice that you were able to make something productive out of an airline delay.

Bill



yellvet
Posts: 203
Joined: Tue Aug 01, 2017 5:54 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by yellvet »

What a find! Congratulations! Been away for a while, so thought I'd check in. Many thanks to you and to Dorothy for posting your trip reports....read every word. Been trying to get over to the Salton Sea to see the snowy owls in SoCal. Read some years ago that 80 to 90 percent of the snowy owl population winters there. But the Salton Sea area has been getting some pretty bad reviews the past few years so I've been spending most of my time watching the local humming birds, red tail hawks, falcons and the northern mocking birds. This past week we had a mated Mourning Dove couple checking out our patio....I think they're looking for a nesting place. Snapped a few pix as the doves walked across our patio wall, sat on top of our BBQ grill and then took a snooze, side by side, on top of our patio gate. And that's the way the mourning doves spent Valentine's Day....cooing and smooching. :)



billandkaren
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by billandkaren »

Yellvet, I did not realize that the snowys went that far south in the US. I know you have some beautiful hummingbirds in that area. Enjoy the warmth!

We will be heading out to Idaho in a few weeks to shovel snow off our deck. We will head into the parks for a day or two if weather permits. We'll give an update on the snow cover, but from what I've been hearing, it is not as much as the last couple of years.

Have a good off-season and we'll look forward to having you back after the snow melts.

Bill and Karen



Dorothy
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by Dorothy »

Congrats -- what a great sighting! Y'know, every time you see something great, it always leaves you hungry to find another one of those I've-always-wanted-to-see-that experiences. It just never ends -- wildlife/bird watching is such fun!

I'm so excited for you, and glad you made it safely through the snow and wind. A Snowy! SO exciting.

Just a quick aside -- sis and I went down to a snow goose festival in Utah a couple of days ago (well, we didn't get to the festival, as didn't have a day off then, but went to the location where the geese were migrating through) to try to see snow geese. And we did, with bells on! There was a flock of at least 1,000 or more geese on the small reservoir, and after we had watched (and listened to) them a while, the actually took off en masse, flew over our heads and around the area a few minutes, settled down again behind some land up a ways away, then about half flew back over and circled and settled down where they'd been before and the rest swam back to join them and created another big mass of them just off shore where we were. Absolutely a stunning, awesome sight!

Again, congrats!



billandkaren
Posts: 129
Joined: Fri Aug 04, 2017 8:50 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by billandkaren »

Thanks, Dorothy.

The snow geese can be quite spectacular. I assume there were some of the blue-geese hybrids and subspecies mixed in. Were there any eagles hanging around? They will often follow the flocks during migration.



Dorothy
Posts: 143
Joined: Sat Jul 29, 2017 7:45 pm

Re: Snowy Owl!!!

Post by Dorothy »

Yes, we did see some blue geese mixed in -- several different color combos -- one was ALL black/blue, from head to tail. It was really interesting. Also some with white heads and "blue" bodies, and some younger ones with mixed phases. REALLY a lot of fun to see all the different looks.

We didn't see any bald eagles right around the reservoir, but there was one (or two) along the way out to Sunstone Knoll, where we spent a bit of time, too. Did see a couple of golden eagles along the way down and one (I'm pretty sure) on the way to Topaz Mountain (where we also spent a bit of time). LOVE to see eagles -- such impressive birds!



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