Snowy Owls in Springbank? Yes!

Over the shoulder - © Christopher Martin-9689

(please click on any image to open a new page with a higher resolution version)

The days between Christmas and New Year’s have involved watching a pair of Snowy Owls in a new location.  Thanks to a sighting near Calaway Park shared by Andrew Hart with the Alberta Bird group, I drove along the back roads in the area looking for one of these majestic owls.  It was near sunset when I found the first one along Range Road 40 on a transmission tower.  The bird was a long way from the road and even with a 500mm telephoto lens plus a 1.4X extender (for a total of 700mm of reach) the two images below are cropped in significantly.  With failing light and a settled bird, I left this one and headed east towards the Springbank Airport.  Across the road from the airport, I saw the white oval of a second Snowy perched as seen above.  This owl was much closer which helped tremendously given how dark it had become.

Pre-flight - © Christopher Martin-9500-2

Despite the title and the pose, the owl did not fly after this shot.  It was readjusting its body by a quarter turn to the east and ended up staying in the position below until sometime after I left.

Attention - © Christopher Martin-9514

My wife and I went past the airport the next day and found one of the owls perched alongside Township Road 250.  The hunt seemed ready to commence but a raven flew by and spooked the owl into a short flight across the field (and beyond my lens’s range).  It was wonderful to see one of the owls glowing in the beautiful winter light.

Launch - © Christopher Martin-0175

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Flying away - © Christopher Martin-0178-2

I was unable to go that way today however my wife did and she watched both of the owls perching, hunting and jousting with a raven.  I’m hoping they settle into the area and spend their winter here.  Last spring my searches for Snowy Owls took me out to Langdon and on towards Brooks so it’s nice to save the couple of hours driving there and back for more time photographing these owls (as well as the coyotes, eagles and hawks which normally hunt in the Springbank Airport area).

7 responses

  1. Reblogged this on bearspawprint.

    January 2, 2013 at 5:39 am

  2. Wow! So pretty!

    January 2, 2013 at 2:18 am

  3. Beautiful bird

    January 1, 2013 at 12:28 pm

  4. wow, what a way to start the new year :D

    January 1, 2013 at 10:52 am

  5. So happy for your success in finding these beautiful creatures. Great shots.

    January 1, 2013 at 10:50 am

  6. Wow these are amazing. I love owls. :)

    January 1, 2013 at 9:51 am

  7. Beautiful photos. I have a real affinity to owls but have never been able to photograph one in the wild. An owl outside my bedroom window woke me this morning but it was still dark and I couldn’t see it . . . just heard it. Thank you for sharing these gorgeous photos.

    January 1, 2013 at 9:29 am

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