So, my buddy Bob calls me up last week and says he knows where we can go and photograph some snowy owls. ‘Great’ says I, I’ve always wanted to see snowy owls in the wild, lets go. Slow down he says, it involves an hours drive, a two hour ferry ride and another 45 minute drive to get there. ‘Great, lets go’ says I.
So we plan our trip, Saturday 4th February, up at 5am and off on our way. The ferry pulls in and we drive off the ramp. Bam! We can’t see a thing, it’s a right ‘pea-souper’, thick fog all around, just our luck. We make our way to the park area, the fog is burning off a little as we grab our gear and start to head off in search of the snowy owls. A short way along a trail and a voice calls out from behind; ‘looking for snowy owls?’ ‘You’re in the wrong spot, you need to head off to this place.’ Thanks to that gentleman we saved a lot of time. We found the spot and walked out on to the marsh. Through the mist we could make out a white blob down amongst the logs, at last my first snowy owl in the wild.
These large (58cm) arctic owls visit southern BC between November and March and numbers can vary depending on availability of food in their northern range and numbers of the birds vying for that food. All in all I counted 16 snowy owls down on the marsh that day and there was probably more. As well as the 16 snowy owls there was probably a thousand people throughout the three hours we spent there too, but all were just enjoying seeing the owls and not getting in each other’s way or harassing or spooking the owls. The fog burned off for a little while, but came back just as quickly. It affected a few shots, but didn’t affect our enjoyment of the day and the delight at seeing my first snowy owls in the wild.
You can see more of today’s images here in the ‘other birds’ gallery.