I asked myself the other day, and some others, where my number of Snowy Owls to be seen this winter would end at. I had no answer, and friends had guessed between 15 and 20. As you can see from the title, I did get close to 15... and hey, it's not quite over yet so we shall see. But 13 different Snowy Owls this winter is astounding to me.
Re-tracing my path a few days after the last adventure. I quickly found what I call numbers 8 and 9, as both of these Snowy Owls were in the same general area as just days earlier. The adult male (#2) was in the vicinity as well. And then as I turned a corner, I noticed yet another Snowy Owl in this 2 km radius, making for 4 Owls (the most I have ever seen in this stretch) and this Owl became #11 to me.
Snowy #8 roosting in the morning on a trailer out in a field.
Snowy #9 was REALLY far out in a farmer's field.
And here be Snowy #11. Female or young male?
Please note, I did stay inside my truck as I took these shots. All the Owls were out on farm fields so roadside is the best I could get with any of them.
Something caught it's attention, or it grew tired of my attention upon it and away it went deeper into the field.
And one day later, a report came in of two Snowy Owls in another area where I had seen only one previously. I took a chance the following day, right before work. It was quite a trip across the QEW and I was hoping to get 30 minutes in the area before I had to turn around and head back the other way to work. Traffic was heavy. And as I exited the QEW, I looked at the clock. If the last stretch of road was good, and the Owls could be found quickly, I had maybe 15 minutes now. A part of me wanted to turn around and head back to Mississauga. But another part, a louder part within said "You've come this far, continue!" And of course my rubber arm was twisted with ease. And I still am very happy to this day that I did.
I present to you, Snowy Owl #12! A real treat with this one because she was putting on quite a show for us in the marina, having caught herself a Ring-billed Gull for a meal. I still only had 15 minutes with her but I was A-OK with this. She, much like all the others, was some distance off; but the feasting show through my binoculars and the lens was just awesome! (I did see the other Snowy Owl, just a bit of it, at the far end of the marina, along the break wall).
She has the Gull in her talons. And she hopped with it across the dock until she got to a more comfortable spot. Four hops with the carcass... thump, thump, thump, thump.
Back to her meal.
And a short break just before I left for work.
I was buzzing all afternoon at work! 12 Snowy Owls now! And the "meal ordeal" played over and over in my head.
And then, that night, as I got on the 401 to head home after work... what do I see but yet another Snowy Owl! It was sitting on a lamp post at Hwy 401 and Hwy 410. There was nothing I could do other than slow down a little (making sure no traffic behind me), look up at it as long as I could until I passed it, and continue home. I was all smiles as the rush of the Snowy Owl sightings came back to me.
To some it appears I am bragging. But I am not really. It became my own personal bit to keep track of them for myself. Many miles have been driven, much gas has been burned, and a lot of time has been spent over the past 3 months. I think I am allowed to keep track and share it for those who are interested.
We are now into our first full week of March. I don't expect to see anymore. But you never know...