Snowy Owls in Springbank? Yes!
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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.
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.
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.
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).
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This entry was posted on January 1, 2013 by Christopher Martin. It was filed under Owls, Wildlife, Winter and was tagged with alberta, bird, Bubo scandiacus, flight, flying, nature, raptor, Snowy owl, Springbank, wildlife photography.