Evening folks…here is Snowy Owl just taking flight, their wing span is 50-55" inch, it's impressive when they are this close. It has been such a treat to see and photograph these beautiful owls this winter. Soon they will be starting to return back to the tundra for the summer. I hope anyone that wanted to see them did, it might be a longtime before we see numbers like this again.
Evening folks…I located this Snowy Owl with fresh snow in the dunes a few weeks back. One couldn't have asked this owl to have chosen a nicer setting and with the sun low in the sky casting long shadows. I think this creates a nice environmental photograph our winter visitors have selected for there winter home.
I'm thinking this one will look nice as one of those big aluminum print…
Afternoon folks…decided not to go out on yet 'another' snowy day here in New England. So, I spent most of the day processing the backlog of photos, made some headway! Here is a sunrise photo on one very cold morning last week. I only had a few minutes to setup and capture this photo with this awesome light. I had been trying for this photo all winter and finally everything came together, nice pink sky and a great subject. I was one happy person that morning!
Evening folks…here is another from the Snowy shoot from earlier this week. This bird was flushed by a walker on the beach. One could not blame this person, since they had no idea the bird was there until they were right on top of it.
Off tomorrow to Maine to hopefully photograph eagles for a few days.
Evening folks…last night’s post was about of the natural history of the Snowy Owl and why they are here south of their natural range. Tonight’s post is more about respecting nature while we observe or photograph them. Last night Tereasa Messer and Jose Matthews both brought up excellent points on my FB page.
These Snowy owls have traveled many miles in search of food, they are hungry and exhausted. Unlike most owls native New England that hunt mostly at night, Snowy Owls actively hunt during the day. So getting too close these owls can disrupt their concentration on that mouse they have in their sight or flushing them to get a flight shot can cause them to expel energy they don’t have. This can cause undo stress on these birds. Two Snowy Owls have been found dead in New England already, one in Maine and the other here in Massachusetts.
Having said this, this applies to all critters. Let me say that I have made some less than ideal decisions and have been overly aggressive at times to get the ‘capture’. I learned early on that being aggressive, does not allow one get a capture of a critter in a relaxed state or showing some neat behavior that you see in many of my photos posted day after day here on my FB page.
We are NEVER going to be able to observe/photograph any critter without a minimal amount of disturbance, most folks just get too excited and make bad decisions. It’s all about education and this has been part of my ‘Mission Statement’ http://massapoag.org/about/index.html from the start.
Here is a photo of a relaxed owl. If this owls wasn't relaxed it would not be preening. One has to know how to read their subject and this comes from experience. I can tell you this from experience, if the owl starts bobbing it's head you are too close and stressing the bird! If a critter is making eye contact with us, I really don't think this is an issue. As sometime they are just as curious about us as we are about them…
Evening folks…it was a snowy kinda day, as in Snowy Owls… I've never seen so many in one day. I started at Salisbury Beach at day break this morning and ended the day at sundown on Plum Island. The total for the day ended with 15 owls of which I was able to photograph six….
For those that don't know about the irruptions of the Snowy owls, here is a simple explanation. Lemmings usually are found in or near the Arctic they seem to have a 4-5 year population cycle. This is also the normal home range for Snow Owls. Lots of lemmings means lots of Snowy owlets are born, fledge and survive. When the lemmings crash the owls move south to find food. Many owls die, but enough survive to allow the Snowy Owl to maintain a healthy population. It’s nature’s way of balancing populations of both owls and lemmings.
Many of the owls down this way are young birds, this owl I believe is a first year owl.