Thursday, January 7, 2021

We Found a Snowy Owl

 Well, we were successful in finding a Snowy Owl  It made our winter birding highlight!  We drove southwest of Owen Sound, toward Chesley and Paisley and crossed a back road or two down there.  With white fields it was hard to think of spotting a white owl, but we now know what we're looking for, having done this for five years (not always successfully)!

This was our first view.  Would you have spotted it?  As you drive you are constantly keeping your eyes open for something white.  What your brain first registers is simply something out of place, something not quite right.  It's a milli-second later that you realize that it's what you've been looking for, aa Snowy Owl.

We creep forward a bit and I steady the camera.

And then what I consider a good shot, considering it was late afternoon and  the light was getting dim.  I had to edit all these quite a bit to get good lighting.  

It was fascinating to sit there and watch it swivel its head through about 270° apparently without moving a muscle.

At one point it hunched down to straighten a feather on its foot.

Mrs. F.G. turned the car around and I got a picture from the other direction.  Then it abruptly lifted off, flew and quickly disappeared in the dusk.

This is probably cropped too much, but I'll put it in to show you its furry feet!

In case you're thinking 'Aren't owls nocturnal?', you need to remember that these Snowy Owls nest on the Arctic tundra were the sun never sets, so they hunt throughout the day.  And we almost always see them sitting up off the ground on a fencepost or hydro pole where they can watch for prey.  They are our largest owls, with a wingspan of 4-5 feet.  This one looks like a male to me, with relatively few dark spots in its feathers.

Have you noticed that the days are getting longer?  I sit here writing this at 5 p.m. and it's still light out, noticeably lighter than 3 weeks ago.  




18 comments:

  1. Absolutely superb photographs. Thank you so many much.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Good catch, glad you found the owl. And, you got some good photos of it too -- well done sir.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great photos of the Snowy Owl. I doubt I would have spotted him.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Oh my goodness! It is gorgeous! Great find! I wonder if it is the same one I found? :D
    I need to drive to Port Elgin again to look for him again. Thank you for the pictures!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Wow, I would have missed that totally, what a magnificent owl, and those fluffy feet, he is a real beauty, and I am guessing this might well be the winter highlight for you both, as your sunlight or daylight hours lengthen. I am getting up at the usual 6 a.m. and sometimes have to turn the lights on already.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Lucky you, so nice to see those pictures. No luck for us yet this season. C

    ReplyDelete
  7. How cool to see this snowy owl!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Great Snowy Owl pics. I've only ever seen one which I think was maybe last winter. I have probably driven by many and never saw them. Yes, I too have noticed the days lengthening.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well done! How wonderful. I saw an amazing sight today in a clip from a new David Attenborough show called Perfect Planet: a huge flock of arctic hares on one of the really far north Canadian islands. Did you know Arctic hares came in flocks? I thought they were solitary.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Wow, beautiful photos of the Snowy Owl. Great sighting!
    Take care, have a happy weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Maybe that's something we can do. I kinda got sick of the activity on Amherst Isl, too many disrespectful citiots.
    Our barred owl is fairly active in the daytime, I've noticed. They are interesting critters.
    Really well done!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  12. WoW!!!! i am so happy for you and the pictures are great. i did not know they had "furry feet!!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. No, I would not have seen it, but I'm sure glad you did, and that you captured him with all these great photos. :-)

    ReplyDelete
  14. It is a beautiful owl. I would be a surprise to see it and it did almost blend in with the sky.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Snowy owl photo looks to have been taken at a very familiar site. We lived there for 25 years, retired and sold five years ago. It did seem to be a great area for catching sight of snowy owls.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I have never seen a photograph of a snowy owl except in books or by professionals, so this is very exciting. It makes it much more real to me to see photos of birds, blooms, and all other creatures that are taken by other bloggers! I especially like the close-up of the protected furry feet! We have many elf owls and burrowing owls here, but whenever I take a picture, the owl will appear smaller than a "dot." I need a different camera than the one on my very old, modest phone! I have managed to get some recognizable snaps of roadrunners, one of whom loves to come to my birdbath out front. Glad to have happened upon your blog!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Such a lovely sighting.
    Beautiful photographs of the Snowy Owl.

    All the best Jan

    ReplyDelete