Snowy Owl Follow-up

April 12, 2018

I returned to B.K. Leach Conservation Area on Tuesday to try to find the snowy owl I had located Saturday but it was nowhere to be found. I stuck around for several hours before I finally spotted the owl on a telephone pole about 3/4 mile away. I watched through my binoculars as the snowy flew to a tree even farther away and stayed there for another hour. Finally, I gave up hope that the arctic visitor would fly to my location so I packed up my gear. All wasn’t lost as I met another photographer, Stephanie, and we spent the morning sharing stories about birds and other critters we have met along the way.

Later Tuesday evening, I decided I wasn’t going to make any more 3.5 hour round trips to find the snowy. Right before bed, I began to change my mind. Perhaps one more trip would be worth it. After all, with the warm weather approaching, the snowy would be heading north for sure. When the alarm sounded at 4:30 A.M., I struggled with the decision for a while until I was wide awake. I thought, “What the heck; what else do I have to do?”

I arrived at the area just as the horizon was bisecting the sun. The wetland was bathed in pink, with just enough light for an image if one presented itself. I looked around, only slightly optimistic, and the snowy was nowhere to be found — again! I had already assembled my camera, lens, and tripod, and I was pulling on my Muck boots when I took a second look around. Somehow I had missed a telephone pole on which the gorgeous snowy owl sat perched in the sunrise glow. I tried to be as nonchalant as possible, an anthropomorphic technique I often deploy that is likely useless, as I finished donning my boots. When I finally looked up again at the top of the telephone pole, the owl was still there, scanning the horizon.

I didn’t want another image of the wintry owl on a telephone pole, so I sat down in my portable director’s chair that I keep in my car, and waited for the snowy’s next move. I only had to wait about 10 seconds before it dropped from its perch and grabbed an American coot in the wetland. Fortunately, the coot’s death screams only lasted a moment. As I situated myself between the sun and the snowy, I thought, “This is it big boy; don’t blow it!” The featured image was the result, taken from a considerable and considerate distance with a 700 mm lens, so as not to disturb the fierce predator from the north.

After the snowy ripped a few morsels from its breakfast, it lifted off into the wind and carried the coot away. I watched as it touched down almost a mile away on the other side of the wetland. I packed up my gear and began thinking about a little breakfast myself, something better than coot, I hoped. I was too eager to get home and review the images to stick around any longer.

A final image from my time photographing “Joan Snow” from the arctic.

I probably won’t make it up to B.K. Leach again before the snowy skedaddles for the season. Maybe next winter, she’ll be back down. I hope she brings her boyfriend.

Thanks for looking,

DB

Always great to hear from you at:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images and Print Information:  https://dannybrown.smugmug.com

America is beautiful. I vote to keep it that way.

9 comments on “Snowy Owl Follow-up”

  1. “Snowy skedaddles for the season”…loved the alliteration as much as the images :D.

  2. Well worth the trip back and all the waiting involved. Beautiful!

  3. Awwwwesome!

  4. Danny, thanks for getting out of bed at 4:30AM to capture these beautiful images of the gorgeous snowy owl. Captivating story, stunning images!

  5. The man ☺ persistence always pays off. Well done Danny.


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