Thursday, December 10, 2020



It’s the time of year when Snowy Owls begin to arrive in our area.  It’s been a warm start to winter, however, and I wondered whether that would keeping them from arriving. 


 Still, I’d been going to Chums Corner a few times a week since Thanksgiving and had seen nothing except one false alarm…a plastic grocery bag in a field that mysteriously looked like a Snowy.


 Then Sunday morning, during Zoom church, I got an Audubon alert that there was a Snowy on the far right dock system at the Elmwood Marina.  By the time I arrived, I didn’t see a Snowy.


 As I was preparing to leave, I got another alert that the owl had moved to the rocky breakwater next to the docks.  Again, I wasn’t able to spot it.  


 I was getting frustrated.  I’d mostly seen Snowies high on light posts and building roofs.  I searched the many mast tops, hoping to spot one there.  No luck.  What was a Snowy doing in a marina anyway, I thought.  After all, they aren’t like Eagles who swoop into the water to catch fish.  I was disappointed and went home.


 The next afternoon I got another alert that the owl was still at the marina, but on one of the roof tops.  I headed out and quickly spotted this large female Snowy as soon as I pulled in. 


 The owl had its third eyelid, the nictitating membrane, closed, which denied me from seeing those piercing yellow eyes that I love to photograph.  The membrane protects the owl’s eye from dust and bright light.


 A bit after closing its third eyelid, the Snowy closed its other two eyelids.  Looks like it was time for a little snooze.


 The nap lasted only a few minutes and when she awoke, I finally got a peek at that yellow eye.  “I see you,” she must’ve been thinking as she took a sideways glance at me.


 The Snowy shifted her body completely away from me so I got the chance to see its heavily-barred body, indicating she was probably an immature female owl.  

 The owl turned again and began a series of big yawns, which made me laugh.  Was she still tired or bored with watching?


 The Snowy gave me one more direct look.  Her eyes were squinting and I didn’t capture much of the yellow eyes.  I did learn from the harbormaster, however, that they have a Snowy Owl visit the harbor every year so now I know of another place to visit in my search for Snowies.