Prairie Wildlife: Flight of a Snowy Owl

Leaving the south edge of Calgary this morning, the snow was flying and there was fog growing denser as we went further east.  My friend Jeff and I were driving on 22X heading towards the Siksika Nation to see if we could find any snowy owls along the range roads in the prairie outside of Calgary.   We made a straight line to an abandoned barn on the edge of the Siksika land that a local there had told me was a favourite location for a snowy year after year.  I’ve been there a couple of times this year but have yet to see the owl but it’s a great drive down toward the river.  Tracing fresh tracks in the snow-covered gravel roads, we carved a wide rectangle around the outer edges of Namaka Lake searching.  Along the way, the fog lifted, the sky brightened and the snow settled right down.  Just over two hours in and we hadn’t seen any wildlife following the herd with the exception of a couple of magpies and one acrobatic raven.

And then, once pointed west and heading back towards Calgary, we spotted a snowy along the same back road where I photographed one a few weeks ago.  It seems to be the same female but I’m not an owl expert so they may only be similar.  Either way, it was fantastic to find this one.  And she was a wonderful partner to make a few images with.  She watched us for a few minutes and then flew off to another telephone pole.  Dutifully, we followed, parked a little ways away and then stepped closer.  She flew again after a few more minutes.  We followed to a third pole and a fourth.  The last leap into the air carried her across the field to a distant perch where she could continue her day without further interruption.  Along the way, we both rattled off a bunch of images and had a lot of fun.

Just a great morning and I’m really happy Jeff was able to see and photograph a snowy owl in the wild.

12 responses

  1. Hey there! I’ve been reading your web site for a while now and finally got the courage to
    go ahead and give you a shout out from Houston Tx! Just wanted to say
    keep up the great work!

    June 20, 2014 at 3:09 pm

  2. Pingback: Snowy Owls in Springbank? Yes! « Christopher Martin Photography

  3. Pingback: Winter Passing on the Prairie « Christopher Martin Photography

  4. bellegroveatportconway

    Beautiful!

    February 28, 2012 at 9:05 pm

  5. victoriaaphotography

    Wow, amazing photos. The owl blends in so well with the snow, you must have ‘eagle’ eyes to catch sight of it.

    February 26, 2012 at 8:55 pm

  6. Val

    Fabulous photos. You’re so lucky to be able to see a bird like this let alone photograph it. 🙂

    February 26, 2012 at 3:52 pm

  7. These are fabulous, Christopher. Snowy Owls are being seen in our part of the world (the Great Lakes) relatively often this year – I understand their food sources aren’t so plentiful where the owls usually are, so it’s a good news/bad news situation.

    February 26, 2012 at 3:08 pm

  8. What an amazing creature! Congrats on capturing it in all its glory!

    February 26, 2012 at 8:55 am

  9. Amazing photos and magnificent creature. It blends into the sky perfectly, except for its eyes, which are such a vivid yellow and look full of thought.

    February 26, 2012 at 4:24 am

  10. Beautiful photos! Amazing – those eyes, wings and layers of feathers!

    February 25, 2012 at 10:29 pm

    • Thanks Karen – I’d spend all day with them if I could.

      February 25, 2012 at 10:36 pm

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