Saturday, December 16, 2017

Buck Creek Snowy Owl

       A few days ago, David & I drove our usual route through Buck Creek State Park. We were looking for deer, but were keeping a watch  for particular, Snowy Owls. A recent article from Audubon  predicted an "irruption " of Snowy Owls into the US, and there have been many sightings already this year. 
      We didn't see any on our drive, but noted that several areas, including the beach and adjacent area, that seemed likely habitats for Snowy Owls.
      About dusk last evening, I saw a post on the Ohio Bird list noting that Clark County Birders had found a Snowy at the beach area parking lot. It was too late to head out then but I made plans to head out bright and early this morning. 
      I was up and at the beach area by 7:30. I had expected to see several other birders hoping to see the Snowy, but was alone initially. Another birder arrived, and we walked toward the beach house and adjacent parking area. 
      I initially missed the Snowy, as it was sitting against some debris in the parking area, but the other birder saw it and we were able to get good looks. The camouflage that the Snowy's feathers provide is amazing! 

I waited about another 45 minutes, and the Snowy flew off to the beach area, where it perched atop the bathroom roof briefly. 

It was startled by nearby duck hunters shooting, and again took flight....this time settling down in some brush at the parking lot edge. 

Here, I was able to catch the shot at the top of this post using the Canon 7D MIII and 500 F4 with 1.4x.