Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Snowy Owls of Boundary Bay, B.C.

    About 15 minutes north of the US/Canada border, on a tidal flat called Boundary Bay, young snowy owls have ended their migratory journey south from the arctic. On the day my dad took us there we saw 19 individual owls, and having never seen one in the wild, seeing 19 was a trip. These birds are in "rest" mode after having flown (and starved) for up to 3,000 miles. The snowys have come south in unusually high numbers this year, presumably due to diminished food sources (lemmings) in the arctic circle. These are large owls, 2 feet tall with a 5-6 foot wing span. Beautiful animals.

 My dad is a "bird guy", and by that I mean that he has been working with and studying raptors for years.  His current specialty is merlins, but who could resist seeing these owls. I was only able to take these photos using a technique called "digi-scoping" in which the camera is placed over the eye-piece of, in this case, my dad's $3,0000 Swarovsky lens. This made the experience way more enjoyable because I would have hated not coming away with these photos. This was the highlight in a trip full of highlights.  Thanks for showing us these guys, dad.

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