Tuesday, November 29, 2011


This past Sunday I went to see a visitor from the arctic. I didn't have to travel quite as far as the bird did, a mere sixty miles for me. I didn't even leave New Jersey to see it. (Well, technically I did, as the GPS took us into Pennsylvania for part of the trip. But I didn't have to go that way.)

The bird was at the Merrill Creek Reservoir, below the main dam.

Way below. We first spotted the bird sitting in this rock outcrop, helped by a number of other birders all looking in the same direction. It was surprisingly obvious.

The bird was quite cooperative, sitting out in the open, and there were a number of folks taking pictures. but we were all over a hundred meters distant. So some folks tried using scopes as lenses; I with just my 400 mm lens (I gotta get a bigger lens, when will Santa ever deliver?).

As we made our way down a rather steep trail, a fox spooked the owl, and it landed on the boulder field behind the dam. At least that's the story we were told. We missed the excitement, the owl out of view as we started down the trail.

It is a gorgeous bird. And a life bird for me. Hopefully it won't be the last. Every few years, in cycle with the lemming population, the snowy's primary food source, there is an irruption of owls heading south. So far this year birds have been seen across southern Canada and the northern United States. And as far south as New Jersey.  Maybe I'll have that new lens for the next one.

1 comment:

Zen Photography said...

WOW, nice shots of an interesting bird.