Snowy Owl at Long Branch Lake

January 8, 2014

I began the year on a great note with a road trip to Long Branch State Park in search of a snowy owl. I was lucky to have my friend Brenda Hente along on the six hour round trip which included some knee crawling across a frozen field on a 15 degree day with impressive lake winds. It didn’t take much to get her to join me; all I had to do was say the word “owl.” Brenda and her friend Mark Glenshaw have been monitoring the great-horned owls of two St. Louis parks, Forest Park and Wild Acres Park, for years.

We left my house at 5:00 a.m. and pulled into the park around 7:45. It took about 20 minutes for Brenda to spot the owl and it wasn’t long before I was setting up for some images. We kept our distance from the stunning little creature because we didn’t want to disturb it so most of the images I brought home were less than Nat Geo quality. I was still pleased to get any kind of image of a snowy owl and Brenda was ecstatic just to see one for the first time in her life. Also, she managed to get a super close up image of the handsome raptor from the window of the car as we crossed the lake’s dam on the way home. The shot made her an instant celebrity on Facebook!

The featured image is of the owl playing peek-a-boo with us from one of its favorite spots along a jetty. The second image is a closer shot of the snowy in the same location. Although it was quite cloudy all morning, the stubborn snowy never opened its eyes much for my lens.


The final image of the owl on the lake ice was my favorite of the day. I even managed to walk out on the ice myself, pushing my tripod ahead of me like a walker. Brenda later asked what she should have done had I fallen through the ice and I said, “Call 911, of course.” No such drama unfolded and eventually we were on the three-hour trip back home where the three of us ate one of Joyce’s incredible lunches. Although Joyce thought for a moment that it would have been nice to see the owl, she reminded us of how wonderful it was to sleep in on New Year’s day and enjoy some time by the fireplace.


If you get a chance, you might want to consider a trip to Long Branch to see the a snowy for yourself. We know that there are at least two individuals at the park and maybe more. It might be a little harder to find them now with all this snow but it would be well worth the try.

Thanks for looking,

Danny Brown

Email me at:  NatureFrames@Rocketmail.Com

8 comments on “Snowy Owl at Long Branch Lake”

  1. Staying dry and getting wonderful shots of the snowy owl. Good day.

  2. It was an excellent trip and a thrill to see a snowy owl here in Missouri. I feel blessed and very lucky to be able to join you and spot this incredible raptor from the Great White North. Thanks again for asking me to tag along. It was a great way to start 2014 and I hope to have more similar adventures with you (and Joyce) throughout the year!

  3. This is awesome! I couldn’t wait for Brenda to come home and tell me the stories. (Yes, I knew there’d be some). Glad she got to tag along.

  4. Hi Danny, I am just returning from the Atlanta Gift Show, and getting around to reading my EMails. What an encredible shot, of that Beautiful Snowy Owl. I would have liked to have seen Him in person myself. Thanks for bringing Him to all of us. I am looking forward to whats in stor for 2014.


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