I saw everything BUT a snowy owl

Well, I wasted about a zillion gallons of gas and a good portion of my sanity searching for that damn owl. And no dice.
I think I saw everything but the owl.
In the three hours I was driving and looking, I saw:
American kestrels (15)
Red-tailed hawks (10)
Cooper’s hawks (2)
Great blue herons (2)
American crows (25)
Starlings (3000)
Pigs (50)
Sheep (30)
Cows (1,000,000)
Alpaca (10)
While investigating yet another white grocery bag in the distance, I realized there was a great blue heron right in front of me.
You’d think that a big white bird would be pretty noticeable in this kind of habitat…
A female kestrel

A few pics from yesterday, before my trek into the belly button of Ohio

A red-tailed hawk at a cemetery near the Oxbow
Our first towhee of the season
I love this one…
We don’t get too many squirrels around the feeders, although there are numerous nests in our trees. I guess all my native planting and “judicious laziness” when it comes to cleaning up the edges of our property lets the squirrels get their fill without having to resort to our feeders. I caught this one is mid-hop.

At the Oxbow: A pied billed grebe. (Thanks, Julie!)

And a great blue heron at the Oxbow, tossing a fish around.

And we have two sleepover guests tonight: Lucy the Peregrine and also our great horned owl. The Boar’s Head festival is running this weekend, and our former director did the performances today, and brought the birds to me so he wouldn’t have to go all the way back to RAPTOR. And I get to be dressed up like a 14th century falconer tomorrow and parade down the center aisle of Christ cathedral with a bird on my arm. And you know I will have to share THOSE pics with you!

I wish I could have shown you some snowy owl pics, but the birding gods did not smile on me today. And neither did the parenting gods…oh, no! I better get the kids out of the trunk!


11 Responses to “I saw everything BUT a snowy owl”

  1. The Swami Says:

    We just received a report of a Snowy Yak. Please let us know if you can get some photos. Oh, and no trying to pass off fuzzy pictures of distant plastic bags as yaks!

  2. Julie Zickefoose Says:

    Dear Susan,

    Sorry about the snowy owl. Another friend of ours got skunked on that one, too. Your grebe looks like a PB grebe to me. Too brown to be anything else. White undertail (well, grebes hardly have tails) works for PB grebe. Eared grebe would be smaller. PB is the biggest grebe here except for red-throated. But red-throated, and any other grebe seen in winter would have a lot of white on it. Diagnosis: PBGrebe.Good thing you have your blog to keep you warm!

    Dr. Zick

  3. Mary Says:

    Susan, above all, I love your tenacity. Your trip wasn’t wasted, dear. Your saw your totem bird! And I don’t believe for a minute you kept those two lovely little girls in the trunk of your car. LOL! I hope your enjoyed the action on your blog while you were away (I did)… Have a great time tomorrow and please send some pics!

  4. Ruth Says:

    I did a special post for you tonight, Susan. Better luck next time, or you can come to Toronto to find what I found.

  5. LostRoses Says:

    Well it was fun looking at your pictures even if you didn’t get the Snowy Owl! I had my first towhee also, blown off course in the blizzard last week. I never have towhees at my feeder, but I did last week. What a treat!

  6. LauraHinNJ Says:

    We don’t even much need you here, Susan. We’re self-entertaining!


    I’m glad JZ sorted out that grebe for you – I get so confused between them – pied are easy (I think), but any grebe that isn’t pied I always want to call horned, or is it eared?

    I think it’s fair to have to work a bit for your life snowy owl. They’re special birds and shouldn’t come easy. I spent many a day on freezing winter beaches here in NJ searching the dunes for them.

    And hey – think of all the pretty cows you got to see!

  7. Liza Lee Miller Says:

    Well, I — for one — am glad that you have your priorities in order. Blog first THEN parent. After all, we were all checking in to see if you bagged the Snowy!

    Sorry about that! Sigh.

  8. katdoc Says:

    Susan, thanks for the heads-up about the Snowy (or lack thereof.) Sorry you missed it, but at least you saved Andrea and me the trip. I will keep checking the Ohio Birds listserv to see if it shows up again.

    I’m a day late checking in on your travels. I was on the Cincinnati Christmas Bird Count on Sat, Dec 30. Read today’s paper – there is supposed to be an article, seeing as this was the 60th anniversary of the count. My section was around the Ohio River and we saw 3 Red-tailed Hawks. The low clouds kept them sitting in tree tops, so we had great views. No Snowy Owls, but we did have a false alarm. Turns out it was an albino yak. Bumped our count up by 50 birds, so we were pleased.

    Hope your children are out of the trunk,


  9. Lynne Says:

    Sorry you missed the snowy, but you won’t forget your trip either way!

    Can’t wait to see the costume pics. Will you be wearing a short tunic and tights! ;0

    Happy New Year to you and yours.

  10. NatureWoman Says:

    From an amateur birder I’d say you had a great day! I know you wanted to see the snowy owl, but you will someday girlfriend!
    And thanks to your FIL and DH for keeping us entertained while you were gone! You were missed!!

  11. Dave Says:

    Ah, leave them a little longer.

    Better luck next time on the Snowy outing.

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