Monday, 2 February 2009

Snowy Owl Day

I just joined the young birders blog yesterday. My name is Tucker Lutter and I live in Iowa, USA. I have been birding for a number of years now and am fifteen. The other day my mom and I went out to look for a Snowy Owl that was being reported near the Owego Wetlands which is not far from where I live. I decided to check a wildlife area on the way down for birds since it was on the way and worth checking. When we got there my mom spotted a large white bird fly up to the top of a grain bin. I looked where she was talking about with my binoculars and saw an adult Snowy Owl perched on the bin. The Snowy Owl that we were going to look for was a juvenile so they were different birds, a great surprise! I called up a couple area birders and they rushed down to see it. On the way there I saw a Northern Shrike as well as a couple mammals such as Mink (weasel) and Red Fox.
After I spent some time photographing and watching the first owl it was time to find the second. We pulled up to the spot where the second owl was seen and found it fairly quickly perched on a post. I got a picture before it flew out into the middle of a field. Seeing two Snowy Owls in one day around here is not easy to do. Finding one can even prove to be a challenge. Most years only one (or even no) Snowy Owls are seen. So far this winter we've had three in the area.After I was done watching the Snowy Owl we (more like I, my mom isn't really a birder) decided to look for a flock of forty Common Redpolls at the wetland area nearby. I had already seen the flock a few days earlier but I wanted to see it again to see if there were any Hoary Redpolls in with them. We found the flock but they flew off after a minute of watching them. Redpolls have to be one of the hardest kinds of birds to observe if they are not sitting still on a feeder. They move around from place to place (they usually stayed in one location for a few minutes and then they moved to another one usually far away) and even when they are feeding the are constantly moving.
The regular birds to the wetland are are also interesting. It doesn't take Snowy Owls or Common Redpolls to make it an interesting day. There are many birds there most of the time such as Short-eared Owl (pictured), Rough-legged Hawk, Merlin, etc. It is a great place to visit almost anytime.
The second Snowy Owl has been around for over a week and has allowed many people to come and view it. The first one however has moved on. The redpolls are still around but are sometimes hard to find. One-hundred of them were seen this morning by several birders. It has been an amazing week for birds in the area.
Good birding!


Josh Jenkins Shaw said...

Hi Tucker,
Great 1st post and welcome on behalf of everyone here!Great photo's too!
Young Birders Admin

Devil Birder said...

Welcome to the blog. Great first post and nice find. Keep it up.