Saturday, February 27, 2010
The plan was to get to the Fox Lake area before dawn, which meant getting up early this morning to meet Mark and Dottie Johnson at 5:00 a.m. Once on the road, we traveled northbound on Highway 151, then County Road AW west, and finally south on Brave Road. The weather became increasingly dreary – gusty winds, snow, and some drifting on the roads; digiscoping would be challenging under such conditions!
As we turned west onto Lake Emily Road, I immediately spotted a Snowy Owl perched atop a telephone pole along the right side of the road. We approached slowly, being mindful not to get too close. Using my car door as a blind, I set up my digiscoping rig and took several exposures plus this video. The owl seemed pretty comfortable with our presence until another car drove past us; the gorgeous predator from the arctic took flight and vanished into the falling snow.
Turning north on County Road A, it didn’t take long for us to find a second Snowy Owl (note different forehead markings). We spent some time scouting around and came across several flocks of Snow Buntings, Lapland Longspurs, and Horned Larks. Our last Snowy Owl observation was in 2006 a few miles north of Middleton along Pheasant Branch Road, so this was an uncommon treat for us!
Snowy Owls © 2010 Mike McDowell