Snowy Owls, November 19, 2011

Snowy Owl

Snowy Owl (click to see a larger version)

Two Snowy Owls were at Montrose this morning. I was at the end of the fishhook pier doing a lake watch when Andy Sigler alerted me to the first bird, which from what I understand was initially inside the native planting area (of Sage Thrasher and Lark Bunting fame) at the southeast end of Montrose. As we were walking back on the pier we saw the bird flying low over the dunes at the east end of the beach. It eventually landed on the plastic boardwalk just west of the protected area and stayed there until flushed by an unleashed canine. The bird flew back to the east and landed on the pier about 200 hundred yards in front of me. Eventually, the bird flushed and flew south over the lake. We were able to relocate it on some rocks near Belmont Harbor, which is about a mile south of Montrose. The bird flushed once again after a few minutes and re-landed along the lake near Fullerton Avenue, about 3 miles south of Montrose. After a few minutes it flushed yet again and we lost sight of it. The second Snowy Owl flew in from the north and landed on the fishhook pier a few minutes after the first bird left. This bird stayed longer and was seen by many people.

The photo above is of the first Snowy Owl. Based on the extensive white bib, white nape, and limited tail barring I believe this individual is an immature male. Adult male Snowy Owls are nearly completely white while females are more heavily marked. The second Snowy Owl was similar in plumage to the first bird. These are the first Snowy Owls for Montrose in about 5 years.