Sunday, November 20, 2011

Snowy Owl and other Sea Birds

I got up before sun up to look for a Red-necked Grebe, but had no luck.  Started out as a very slow day which was disappointing because there have been so many reports of great birding.  I decided to search for a snowy owl that had been repeatedly seen at Duxbury Beach in Duxbury, MA.  I've seen a few snowy's before, but they were usually 100s of yards away. I didn't expect anything less at the beach, but I usually have pretty good luck along the shore. 

Saturday was no different,  fantastic birding.  Access with a vehicle is by permit only so I packed up my gear and off I went on foot.  I didn't expect to walk as far as I did, but when a great photo op exists I think I'd walk to the moon. One of three snowies was most recently spotted at the base of Plum Hills on Saquish Island.  Clearly I wasn't paying attention because I walked right up on what I thought was plastic bag, but when I got within 15 feet, it immediated teed right up for me on a branch.   I took over 100 photos thinking I may never get another opportinity like this one.   I spent 30 minutes on my belly in the sand. 

Snowy Owl (female) Duxbury Beach

On my way back, I realized that I'd really walked a long distance and was exhausted.   I looked it up today and it was appxomately 4 miles out.  8 miles for a snowy.  Jeesh!  You better really like it.  I tell ya!  I was also pretty lucky on the way back I saw some great birds.  Black scoters, White winged scoters, long-tailed ducks, northern gannets, red breasted mergansers, snow buntings, northern harrier, sharp-shinned, and many different gulls species.  I didn't spend alot of time as the wind was amazing.  It was sustained at 25 mpg.   I did take a few more photos though.

Juvenile Bonaparte's Gull

Horned Grebe

Red-Throated Loon

I also got a juvenile brant which threw me for a loop as it was missing the typical white line.  All in all a great day.  Beautiful sunshine, blue sky, ocean waves, and plenty of birds.

Brant, juvenile


Jen said...

WOW that's so awesome!! I'd totally walk 8 miles for a SNOW!! Love the juvenile Brant photo. I'll be out your way for Thanksgiving, hoping some good birds will be around!

Hilke Breder said...

Congrats on a wonderful post, John!
Awesome gallery of birds. The Snowy Owl is terrific and so are the other birds.

Dan Huber said...

awesome shots and captures Tucker.


Dawn Fine said...

Howdee! lucky to be that close to the Snowy...Its on my list of birds I NEED to see. Great photos too! Happy Birding to Ya!

Anonymous said...

Great shots. I really hate shooting in the wind, but the ripples in the water in the grebe shot are very nice. It's very cool that you got to see the snowy. Lucky!