Sunday, February 23, 2014

Snowy Owl

Vermont has been enjoying an influx of Snowy Owls this winter, down from the Arctic for better foraging options. A bad year for lemmings is a good year for Vermont birders. Last weekend, twenty-four Snowy Owls were found in Addison County, which is unprecedented. I found this lovely bird in a field by scanning with my spotting scope in an area where another birder said one had been seen earlier today. I just barely picked it up, sitting on the ground like a pale stump, when it flew on magnificently silent wings to perch in a tree beside the road where we were pulled off. Instantly, about ten other cars pulled in. The owl stayed there at least half an hour, allowing me to take about eighty shots and get my scope on it again so that everyone else in the pull-off could see it up close.

I walked off by myself for a little while to get a different angle, and when I came back, people were saying, "Bob Spear's daughter" in hushed voices. Dennis had squealed on me. Highly embarrassing. I spent another twenty minutes being peppered with questions about owls and the museum, which I plugged shamelessly. Finally, most of them left and I got a turn to look through my scope for a while. There is really nothing in the world like having a Snowy Owl's huge yellow eyes fixed on you.

I caught two deer running across a field while it was getting dark on our way home.

A very nice day.

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