Snowy Owl

I spent a lot of time walking on West Dennis beach last week. It isn’t my favorite beach, but it is very close. I was a bit surprised by the numbers of people walking despite the cool and damp weather, but that was fine – I can share ;)

I always start off at the far eastern point of the beach and turn back at different places depending on my mood. On Wednesday, despite my late start (I worked all day), I decided to walk down to the jetty by the river’s mouth. I had noticed a lot of people in one spot, many with cameras, just a little beyond where I’d turned back the day before and so I decided to investigate.

Yep, there was a snowy owl in the dunes. It was pretty dark by then, but I watched it for a few minutes before it flew off.

I came back on Thursday, arriving perhaps 20 minutes earlier and went straight to the owl instead of walking to the end first. Sure enough, it was there with an attendant crowd. The dune is between the beach and the access road, so the audience was on both sides. I took a few photos… OK, a lot of photos.. then walked to the end. I stopped by when I was heading out and took more, even though it was dark.

Actually, it wasn’t that much lighter when I first saw it, so I was shooting at ISO 1000.

The next morning I was running down the access road and could see the owl on an ancient lifeguard stand in the dunes as I passed by. Cool! Later in the day I swung back around (driving down, not running ;) ), dragging my camera. There was some sun peeking through the clouds, so I was able to get slightly better shots. Or at least not as grainy.

When I first arrived, the owl fluffed up. Kind of cool.

Someone told me that there was at least one more owl on the beach, possibly two. I walked down the the jetty and stopped at random. Yep, I found the second owl. It was a bit more hidden, not super visible from all directions! It was also sleeping.

I didn’t stay long – I didn’t want to wake it.

On the way back I stopped at the owl on the lifeguard stand. It was preening. Cool. I took a few pictures, even though the light was no longer in my favor and went on my way. I didn’t return – I monopolized enough of the bird’s time.

That being said, the owl seemed to be totally unperturbed by the people around it. For the most part people respected it, not getting very close. There are trails through the dunes – the lifeguard stand is obviously on a major one – but people stayed on the edge of the dunes looking in.

Also, although I took many pictures of the owls face, most of the time it was facing away. Was it watching people on the road side? Maybe. I don’t know. I don’t think it minded my presence (“our presence” since it had many admirers), but I still didn’t want to disturb it too much, so I that is why I didn’t return.

Anyway, I felt lucky – I’ve never seen one! I took well over two hundred photos in six different visits to the two owls over two days, but remember, when it turned its head towards me, I might squeeze of ten shots in a row… I have about 25 “keepers” but will only bore you with these.

Anyway, this is also part of my weekly smile – seeing this beautiful bird, or these beautiful birds, since I saw two, was worthy of a huge smile :)

Can’t get enough of the owl? I posted a gallery with quite a few photos here.

57 thoughts on “Snowy Owl

  1. Pingback: Snowy Owl – More Photos! | Trent's World (the Blog)

  2. Pingback: Searching for Snowy | Change Is Hard

  3. Sarah Potter Writes

    I totally love owls. What a wonderful experience for you. Lovely pictures, too. There are no snowy owls where I live — just tawny owls and barn owls. I love listening to the tawny owls calling to each other in the woods on a clear night.

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I do love seeing owls, though very rarely catch more than a glimpse. We are outside of the snowy owl range, but some occasionally show up. Since the are tundra animals, they like to stay in the open.

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  4. Diana

    WOW! So beautiful! Never boring, I Love all the photos you’ve shared! Definitely smiling!! 😀 That’s something special seeing and photographing a snowy owl, or a couple of them! 🦉❤️

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  5. Marilyn Armstrong

    These birds are getting increasingly rare, so fabulous that you got to see not one, but a family! I’m worrying about woodlands because the utility companies are buying up a lot of the woodlands to flatten them for “solar panel farms.” I don’t think they “get” that you don’t save a planet by destroying it MORE. Worse, because these are Commonwealth lands, they don’t have to ask permission to use them, even though these were previously wetlands and supposedly protected. The single thing to come out of this is that nothing is protected when someone with money wants the property. So keep your fingers crossed. I think you are probably protected simply by being “tourist” territory that already makes money. Sadly the woodlands around here are just considered “empty. ” Not if you ask the creatures who live there, though.

    Really, big congratulations on your owls. They are beautiful to see!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      It was very cool to be able to see them. They don’t come this far south every year, at least not in any numbers.
      New England was pretty much deforested before, but I hope it doesn’t happen again, even if for reasons that some think are “good”! I don’t know what a good solution is, except making people totally change their life styles – the new (last 40 years or so) of coal mining is so destructive – the literally level mountains and fill in the valley with the rubble creating deserts in areas that 50 years ago were some of the most beautiful in the country. They extract twice the coal as the did when coal was huge with a quarter the jobs and scream that “liberals” have taken all of their jobs. I’m not saying I want them to do that up here replacing forests of trees with forests of silicon and glass sheets to capture the sun! We need fusion sooner than later, and even traditional nukes would be better. Maybe – more people die each year from coal than have died in history from nuclear energy, but an accident is still scary. A huge topic, and not a single good solution, but, as you said, it will all flow to where the money is…
      Thanks, it was great to see the snowy owls! they are beautiful animals.

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  6. Shannon

    I’m so jealous! I was just researching trying to find a trail with an owl because I wanted to see/photograph one! No luck so far, but your post gives me hope! The photos you shared are gorgeous!

    Liked by 2 people

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I so rarely see owls in the wild, and when I do, they are impossible to photograph, so, yeah, I feel very lucky to see these guys. Of course, you’d have more luck with arctic Snowy Owls if you were back in the north of the country ;) Thanks! they are beautiful birds.

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                  1. Miriam Hurdle

                    He spent the entire life on the nature and doing research. He is 95. I like his narration in the documentary because he put a lot of explanation of the animal’s behaviors and the nature’s phenomenas. Other narrators only describe the scenes.

                    He made presentations to the United Nations about the climate change, but we’re years too late to do anything. His prediction of disasters came earlier than expected as seen in the US the last year. The weather in most parts is terrible. Even the west coast had record breaking temperature.

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                    1. trentpmcd Post author

                      For the most part I just go to their web site. I read a few news sites, and BBC is my favorite – I have the app on my tablet and read if I eat alone. And, of course, I go be7ynd the news into culture, and, of course, science and the environment, which is where I see David Attenborough come up all of the time.

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                    2. Miriam Hurdle

                      I signed up for CNN so I had the daily headlines. I may check out BBC. David Attenborough is an inspiration. You can feel his passion about nature. Right now, rather than doing narration, his mission is to bring more attention to the climate change. According to his projection, if the world doesn’t do anything, our planet would parish very soon, we could feel it in 50 years, not knowing we could feel it in the US throughout last year.

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  7. dawnkinster

    OH MY! This past Friday, New Years Eve, in fact, a college friend and I drove up into the thumb of Michigan where we had heard there might be snowy owls. We drove all day and saw a few hawks, a lot of barns and no owls. I’ll be writing that blog post soon…so is it OK if I link to your wonderful images? I am SOOOO HAPPY for you! I would have been star struck. Glad you got to see them. I’m sure someday I’ll be in the right place at the right time with a camera. Thank you for sharing your wonderful pictures!!

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      I know people do drive hours to see them when spotted. Sorry you missed yours. Sure, go ahead and link here to show people why you did such a long drive. They are beautiful and worth seeing :)

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    1. trentpmcd Post author

      There have been a few other times that I heard that there was one close to were I walk, but this is the first time I actually saw one in person. They are beautiful!

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  8. Pingback: The Weekly Smile for the 3rd of January, 2022 #weeklysmile | Trent's World (the Blog)

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