Sunday 26 February 2012: Snowy Owls at Boundary Bay
What a day! Very windy this morning but not like yesterday so we set off into the whitecaps to return to Seattle. But first, thanks to the article in the paper that our son brought up to the island last sunday, we just had to make a very slight detour before the border to Bounday Bay, B. C. to see the snowy owls there. It's called an irruption: because of periodic shortages in the Arctic lemming population , every 4-7 years increased snowy owls travel further south looking for food. They're going after Townsend's voles which are prevalent in Boundary Bay and similar to lemmings. Snowy owls are a tundra species, drawn to open spaces, so the washed up beach debris is perfect for them. There is a dike trail in the park along the shore frequented by walkers bikers and horseback riders, and the owls are mostly very near. (50 ft?) There are signs telling people to stay on the trail, don't go off in the marsh, don't stress the birds or make them fly, they need to conserve their energy for hunting and surviving. Of course there were lots of people with hugh long lenses doing just that! Can't understnd that! The owls will probably be around til sometime in March. (also seen in large numbers in Ocean Shores and Dungeness Spit in Washington.) I went with th little camera (in comparison) and saw maybe 15-20 a short way along the trail. My husband got tired (and it was very cold) so went back to the car and actually brought me my tripod (so I could look like many of the others in the crowd - it was fascinating - mostly the owls didn't move, but just swiveled their heads around,( like Hedwig!) I'm not really a bird photographer and only have a 250mm which I feel I need to use with a high shutter speed, but still would need big crops to just get the bird. However I love the beach wood and the grasses so much I just couldn't crop it out. and I wanted to give you a sense of where they were!
I did put some on Flicker, which I rarely use, but if you are interested to see a few different ones, and the sunny scenery (and 2 photos from the border) you could look here
All in all, It was very exciting, and such a gorgeous day with sun, snow flurries, very dramatic skies and clouds. A little snow on the ground on the way back. Got to Seattle in time to attend a book artist lecture at the UW I was interested in, and then got distracted with the Oscars, so fiddled with the flicker photos during that... Happy to be here , I feel so fortunate with my contrasting lives from island solitude to city chaos. Tomorrow at 8 am our bathroom shower is to be demolished for the redo -(part of the chaos..)
Sorry this got so long....