Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

In Search of the Snowy Owl

When You least Expect It
In Illinois this is where you look in winter for the Snowy Owl.
Rural small town cornfields that go for miles and miles.

Last winter there were two local Snowy Owl sightings.
One was just two miles from my home.
This year eyes were peeled, always searching the fields.
I found a cat, snow buntings and an eagle. No Snowy.

Then just as I had given up on seeing one this year ....
I heard about a sighting a few hours from my home in Fox Lake Wisconsin.
We found the sleepy Snowy relaxing in some brush
along a fence line near the road.
Thanks Karen for the wonderful directions.

It is hard to see the owl camouflaged in this setting at this angle.

Another angle of the Snowy. She is smirking at us.

A view of the fence line where she likes to hang out.
She was about 100 feet from the road.

She is a smiley owl.

Just beautiful.

We watched her for a while then decided to get some lunch and return. Word was, she perches at the top of a pine tree in an intersection near this fence line at around 3 p.m. each day.
We had lunch at a quaint diner in town and returned for the excitement.

It was just three o'clock when we returned and she was on the other side of the road along the same fence line only further away. Five or six hundred feet now. I thought maybe she knew about the time change tonight and would perch at 4 p.m. instead. We waited ... watched ... she watched .... waited ... no movement. Four o'clock turned into five o'clock.

This is a picture of Saturday's sky. A gray, gray day.
The sky was one big gray nightmare for photographing a Snowy Owl.
You go when you can. You deal with the weather you get.
I turned my ISO up to 800, my exposure compensation to +2/3
with a cloudy white balance setting and hoped it was a good decision.

Just after five o'clock she flew across the field.

And landed on a snowbank just across the road from the perch location.

She sat watching cars pass for about 10 minutes then flew back in the field.

Where she stayed.
We did not see her perch today.
The light was fading and so did we.
As winter fades and spring begins ...
this was a pleasant end of the season sighting.