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Old December 21st, 2011, 11:29 AM
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SNiedzwiecki SNiedzwiecki is offline
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Snowy Owl

There has been an unusual number of snowy owl sightings across the Northern U.S. this year. This is my first sighting of one in the wild, and it was such a thrill to see. I'm in love! Such beautiful details in its markings...

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Old December 21st, 2011, 08:38 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

I'll agree on the higher than usual sightings across North America.....the forums of full of comments to that effect and here locally in the Pacific Northwest the birders forums are likewise abuzz with reports with some sites reporting a dozen or more in one location. I saw my 1st wild snowy 3-4 weeks ago on my weekly birding walk at NNWR and have seen it 2 other times since. The unusually higher numbers are termed irruptions and are theorized to be a function of lesser food on normal wintering grounds.

Is this heavily cropped as you seem quite close. I know that there's been lots of wailing between the 2 principle interest groups, ie birders and photographers with the self anointed righteous from each side wanting to respectively deny access or get closer access. It is a very nice image.

The distinct brown barring markings would seem to indicate a 1st year Snowy female.
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Old December 21st, 2011, 09:19 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

The image has been cropped a wee bit because in this instance, I had made a vertical print for a client. But believe it or not - I was amazingly close to the owl.

I photographed it in a very well-known established birding area in a wastewater treatment facility in Michigan. The birds, having come down from the arctic, seem very casual about humans. I spent almost 35 minutes slowly rolling up near the owl (inch by inch, literally!) with my vehicle and used my 500mm lens. I was amazingly close, but the bird was so comfortable in my presence, it even would close its eyes once in awhile and rest!

Since my visit, there have been sightings of up to a group of eight, include an almost completely white male. Due to my heavy work schedule, I haven't been able to make a trip back, but will be shortly.

Thanks for your nice note!
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 08:07 AM
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Re: Snowy Owl

That's a great shot! There's a group around here that's been doing some get togethers lately in an attempt to get some shots of these guys. Next one in in January, I may have to give it a whirl.....
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 10:02 AM
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Re: Snowy Owl

Cool perspective/angle. It looks like it has it's head turned around looking at you over it's back, but the impression is of a person with its hands folded in front of its belly.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 01:20 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

Quote:
Originally Posted by mrchile View Post
Cool perspective/angle. It looks like it has it's head turned around looking at you over it's back, but the impression is of a person with its hands folded in front of its belly.
I got the same impression (not terribly difficult for an owl, I think) and waited for your comment.
Beautiful bird and very well done. I doubt there should be too many in Central Texas though, so thanks for this.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 04:12 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

Beautiful! Really nice dof and composition.
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Old December 22nd, 2011, 11:01 PM
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SNiedzwiecki SNiedzwiecki is offline
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Re: Snowy Owl

Thanks for all of the kind notes, everyone!

Yes, the owl's back was towards me. I watched it entirely through my lens, braced in my open car window. I would wait until it turned its head away for a moment, roll my vehicle a little closer, then freeze when it would glance back at me! They are SO aware of every little thing - one wonders what it would be like if humans had such qualities (super hearing, super sight and ability to turn head almost completely around)?
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 05:35 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

Great capture... agree with all the comments. Well done.
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Old December 23rd, 2011, 05:42 PM
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Re: Snowy Owl

This is an excellent photo - so glad you were able to get not only the opportunity but also to get so close and to share it with us.
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