Snowy Owl (B.K. Leach Conservation Area — Lincoln County)

April 7, 2018

This morning I was sitting in some cattails, rubber boots in the water, at one of my wetland hides at B.K. Leach Conservation area. It was about an hour before sunrise and the waterfowl situation didn’t look too promising. It was pretty cold, 22 F with a brisk north wind right in my face, and I soon realized that I had made the mistake of wearing my insulated overalls instead of my chest waders. Yep, it felt like water was seeping through my turkey chair right through to the seat of my pants.

When the sun finally made an appearance I could see that it wasn’t going to be much of a duck hunting day but I stuck it out for another two hours just to be on the safe side. I mean you never know with critters! Finally, around 8:30 A.M., I decided it just wasn’t meant to be so I made the slog back to the 4Runner. Boy it felt good inside my vehicle once the heater kicked into high gear. I’ll admit I was a little down about the waterfowl situation but I didn’t break my camera down. I decided to put it in the passenger seat and take a loop around the area to see what was what. My first stop would be the parking lot of the MDC Waterfowl Draw Shed, for no particular reason other than the fact that it was close by.

As I pulled up to the Draw Shed, I saw a huge white bird flying from the roof of the shed over to a nearby electric pole. I thought it was a red-tailed hawk with the Krider’s coloration at first but when it landed I saw that it was a snowy owl! “What the heck?” I said to myself as I poked my lens out the window, a style of shooting I typically detest, but deploy when necessary. I made several images as the snowy scanned the horizon. After a few minutes, I decided to jump out of the car and casually set up my tripod as if the owl were not there. It didn’t seem to make a bit of difference to the snowy, which was a good distance away and atop an electric pole. It does look pretty close in the featured image though, but I was using a 700 mm lens.

After a while, the owl made the short hop back to the draw shed to the spot where I had seen it the first time (see next image). It sat there for a bit, enjoying the warm morning sun, and finally flew off to a telephone pole along the road.

The snowy owl on its favorite corner of the MDC Draw Shed.

I’ve included a longer shot of the snowy on the defunct electric pole for a little perspective (see below).

A snowy owl makes a visit to one of my favorite conservation areas.

If you follow this blog, you know that many of my images are captured at Missouri Department of Conservation areas. I might be biased because I was a biologist with MDC for 25 years, but I think they do a wonderful job of providing habitat for much more than just game species. I support them with all of my heart, especially in these times when politicians question the importance of the environment to a thriving society.

As I left B.K. Leach, my initial thought was to keep the find to myself so I could come back the next morning for a few more hours of alone-time with the rare snowy. A few minutes later I decided to go ahead and make the find known via the birding boards so others could have a good chance of seeing such a magnificent creature. After all, I had some decent images already. By noon, the bird lovers and bird paparazzi had already arrived to revel in the presence of such a rare visitor. I know they were as pleased as I was to enjoy such an experience.

Thanks for looking,


Email me with questions/comments at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery/Print Information:

Missouri is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way!

7 comments on “Snowy Owl (B.K. Leach Conservation Area — Lincoln County)”

  1. Stunning! So glad you saw it and were able to capture the image and share it with all of us!

  2. Wow…such lovely images. And thanks to your sharing the information, I also just watched a video of the Snowy washing its face, taken by Brenda. Thanks for sharing! Deepa.

  3. Thanks so much for sharing the info on the owl, Danny. The experience was indeed marvelous for Andy and I. Thank you! Thank you!

  4. Nice find and beautiful pictures!! I wonder if he’ll still be there tomorrow?

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