In which I do not see a Snowy Owl, 2/2/12

Another Thursday, another trip up to Saratoga County.

A hopeful crowd assembled this week hoping the Golden Eagle from last week was still around (disclosure: it wasn’t). And not much else was around, either — just the usual ducks and gulls. We cruised around the grasslands where even the usual raptors were missing. No larks, no buntings…

But from the car window, far across a field, we spotted something that looked unusual. Large, and light, perched in a tree — we stopped and fixed out binocs on it. The car behind us stopped, then the one behind that, scopes were deployed, and we were all ready to swear we could make out the head and tail of a large light bird. It had to be a Snowy Owl!

Then the lead car swung back and we heard a cry, “It’s a stump!” “It’s is not!” I shouted back defiantly, but the seed of doubt had been sown. Was it, maybe, a bit too still? And then came the VLS (Very Large Scope) to remove all doubt.

*sigh* If I’d been alone and just seen it through my binocs, I’d still be swearing it had to be a Snowy. How embarrassing.

Setting aside illusory owls,  the best bird of the day was a Peregrine atop a power pole, pecking at some small bloody thing. On the way home we swung back along the river, finding a mixed flock of Canada and Snow Geese.

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American Crow, Red-tailed Hawk, Rock Pigeon, European Starling, Black-capped Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, Canada Goose, House Sparrow, Ring-billed Gull, Blue Jay, Mourning Dove, American Black Duck, Common Merganser, Common Goldeneye, House Finch, Ring-necked Duck, Bufflehead, Mallard, Bald Eagle, Eastern Bluebird, American Goldfinch, Northern Cardinal, Tree Sparrow, Peregrine Falcon, Rough-legged Hawk, Northern Harrier, Pileated Woodpecker, Snow Goose, Hooded Merganser, Great Black-backed Gull, Herring Gull, Dark-eyed Junco, Downy Woodpecker.

33 species, 1 new for the year.

Categories: Bird photos, Field trip, NYS 2012 | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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2 thoughts on “In which I do not see a Snowy Owl, 2/2/12

  1. Upstate Ellen

    As another birder I know says (as inspired by the quote, “Bird every bird”): “Bird every plastic bag.” You never know when that white thing in a tree turns out to be a Snowy Owl. No reason to be embarassed.

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