Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Quest for the Snowy Owl Continues

After checking various blogs and calling several NWRs, we drove 50 minutes from Cape May to Forsythe NWR last weekend, January 18th, as a Snowy Owl had been sited that morning on the 8-mile Wildlife Drive, right at the first curve. There had been even one the day before spotted on the roof of the headquarters there. This is where most of the owls have been spotted and
I hoped we would be lucky.

It was our first visit to Forsythe and it was amazing with an expansive sky view, rich feeding and nesting areas and about 1,500 acres of fresh/brackish water marsh habitat created by a dike system that can be manipulated depending on the seasons, not to mention 5,000 acres of woodlands and 46,000 acres total.

I shot anything that was white, just in case . .

After we drove the first 5 miles or so, my heart started to sink, but then our attention was drawn to the 1000's of snow geese taking off and their undulating flight patterns . . .

for them to then just settle down again a few meters away . . .

This Peregrine Falcon got the most of attention at the time we drove through, with many stopping to take shots. A Snowy Owl had been spotted in the same location just a day before.

And at the end of the drive was a pair of Common Pintail . . 

The closest I'm going to get to a Snowy Owl this year is this lovely print I found at the West End Garage in West Cape May. 

Perhaps, I will have better luck next year. According to Clay and Pat Sutton's Birds and Birding at Cape May, Snowy Owls can be seen in the area annually. (page 150-151)

During the quest, I learned more about how to access more current information through Twitter and sites listed on the right column of my blog under Useful Birding Links, which I will continue to add to. Project SNOWstorm is especially worth a peak, as transmitters were attached to several owls to track their movements and the findings are exciting.

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