A snowy glance

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9302

There is something magical when you lock eyes, however briefly, with a wild animal in their environment.  Last weekend this snowy owl favored me with a long glance as it flew over the prairies.  Here is the little story behind this image.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9139

I was driving the country roads east of Calgary and spied this owl on the top of a small hill a fair distance from the road.  The image above was taken with a big telephoto (500mm) so the bird was likely a kilometer away.  Distance can be a bit tricky on the prairie so I may be a bit off but it was too far away for any of the shots that I was looking for.  I left the car and slowly trudged up said hill on a parallel line from the owl.  I don’t like to spook animals so slowness is key when approaching and lot’s of stops to watch closely for signs of pressure in the bird.  After 45 minutes I was about 60 meters away, the owl continued to scan the fields from the high ground and I settled into the snow.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9189

The sun shone, the owl dozed a bit between scans and I had an internal dialogue about the sanity of sitting on a bare hilltop on a cold day.  It had warmed up compared to earlier in the morning when I photographed a prairie falcon a few kilometers away but a steady breeze kept things chilly.  None of that really mattered though, I was happy to be sharing time with the owl.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9280

Another 15 minutes passed and then so did a couple of ravens.  As they flew overhead the owl tracked them closely.  That seemed to stir her energy up and shortly after they passed she ruffled up her feathers, stamped a little bit and then took flight.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9297

She flew eastward into the sun which lit her beautifully.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9300-4Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9303.jpgFavoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9301-3.jpg

After a couple of wingbeats she looked my way and then stared at me for a couple more.  Was it curiosity, an acknowledgement of the encounter, her saying goodbye?  Probably not any of those but it was powerful, and as I said before, magical.

Favoured by a snowy glance - © Christopher Martin-9305-2

15 responses

  1. beautiful!

    March 1, 2019 at 1:29 pm

  2. Christine

    Gorgeous photos. ❤ Love!

    February 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

  3. Anonymous

    Sensational photos of Snowy Owl

    February 26, 2019 at 8:47 am

  4. Sensational photos of a wonderful animal. 🙂
    Kind regards Alexander

    February 23, 2019 at 5:59 am

  5. It’s hard to believe such a beautiful creature exists. We’re used to thinking of tropical birds as the impressive ones, but I’d put this owl up against any of them. What a wonderful, if cold, morning for you.

    February 23, 2019 at 4:47 am

    • I agree for sure. Though I wouldn’t mind trading the cold for a little while and be searching for those tropical birds!

      February 23, 2019 at 10:11 am

  6. Really beautiful!

    February 22, 2019 at 9:52 pm

  7. wow…just wow!

    February 22, 2019 at 12:00 pm

  8. I love your work and your blog, nice encounter with the Snowy Owl.

    February 22, 2019 at 10:54 am

  9. Sheldon

    Just awesome.

    February 22, 2019 at 8:30 am

  10. Gorgeous photos. What a beautiful, majestic bird.

    February 22, 2019 at 8:23 am

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