Here’s another shot taken on or near Long Island Sound, in recognition of the Connecticut Audubon Society’s 2019 State of the Birds report. The press release that summarizes the findings may be found here. The full report will be available via PDF on January 1.
It looks like another good year to see snowy owls throughout New England.
The white, powerful Arctic visitors may not be as prolific as they were four winters ago, but it is another exceptionally strong year for sure.
A glimpse at Rare Bird Alerts throughout the region show they are being seen at both coastal and inland areas. They are more likely to be seen along the coast, but not exclusively. Keep your eyes open and you just may spot one of these magnificent creatures.
I have not spotted one this year yet. To be fair, I haven’t made much of an effort as work and family duties have kept me from visiting areas where they have been seen. Luckily, I heard from a reader of my bird column in New Hampshire who sent me a photo of a snowy owl that has been seen in the southwestern corner of that state.
That photo is above and also on the “reader submitted photos” page on this site.
It’s funny, that page also includes a photo of a snowy owl taken in southwestern New Hampshire a few years ago. As I said, snowy owls are most likely to be seen along the coast, but not always.
Good luck in your search. Let me know how you do.
Below are a few photos I took during the historic irruption of 2013, but first here are some links to interesting stories about these northern birds of prey.
How are the owls doing overall?
Well-done blog with maps:
Here’s where they are being seen:
Now here are some photo I took a few years ago.
Here’s my For the Birds column from last week. Another big Snowy Owl irruption year? We’ll see …
The historic Snowy Owl irruption of the 2013-14 winter is still fresh in many people’s minds. I know it’s still on the top of my mind. Could we be in store for another one this winter?
We’ll have to wait and see, of course, but if what is happening in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan already is any indication, the chances are pretty good. We’ve barely turned the calendar over to November and sightings in those states are booming. Typically it is mid to late November when the Snowy Owls start showing up.
The Snowy Owl that delighted hundreds of visitors at Calf Pasture Beach in 2008, however, showed up in early November. This year the sightings in the Midwest came even earlier, starting as early as Oct. 20, according to the folks at eBird. eBird is an online database of bird sightings with much of the data submitted by citizen scientists.
I’ll post parts of my David Allen Sibley interview throughout the next few weeks. Here he talks about the great Snowy Owl irruption of winter 2013-14.
It’s no secret by now that this is a historic winter for Snowy Owl sightings throughout New England and beyond. Snowy Owls are large owls that breed in the Arctic. The irruption of Snowies has gained the attention of nearly all media outlets — small, medium and large; newspapers, magazines, radio and television.
It’s hard to ignore such an avian happening. A couple Snowy Owl sightings in a New England winter is the norm. This year there have been dozens, perhaps hundreds. The most recent Audubon magazine has a great article by Scott Weidensaul. I highly recommend reading it.
I saw my first Snowy Owl of this winter in December in Westport, Conn. I saw a few more in January and February in Milford and Stratford, Conn.
On March 1 I had perhaps my best Snowy Owl sighting of the year. It was at the Coastal Center at Milford Point in Milford, Conn. The owl was on the beach and, while I photographed it from a distance, other beach walkers flushed the impressive bird on occasion. Because of the owl’s impressive size I was able to relocate it each time. Such an impressive bird.
My hope is that as many of these beautiful birds as possible make it back to the Arctic. Perhaps they’ll visit us again another winter.
Enjoy these photos. I hope to have a short video ready soon.
More photos below (click on “continue reading.”)
Here’s a copy/pasted press release about a fun contest from Connecticut Audubon.
This has been an incredible winter for Snowy Owl sightings in our area. Connecticut Audubon Society is looking to you to help us celebrate and raise awareness of these beautiful birds.
Now Connecticut Audubon Society is inviting birders to enter its Snowy Owl Observation Contest by sharing their experiences. First prize is Continue reading
It was bitterly cold, but bright and sunny. Perfect day for a quick bird walk. Perfect day for a long bird walk, too, but I had limited time before my son Will’s basketball game, so it had to be a quick one.
After seeing a few Fox Sparrows at Weed Beach in Darien, Conn., as soon as the walk started, the only species I could find was White-throated Sparrow. And there were lots of them. I love my White-throated Sparrows, of course, so I’m not complaining. My eyes, however, were darting around the brush for other birding goodies.
Trudging through the snow and doing my best to ignore the
More photos below, click on “continue reading.”
So I finally got into all this Snowy Owl action.
Snowy Owls are being seen in larger-than-usual numbers along the East Coast this fall and winter. Snowy Owls breed in the Arctic and typically spend their winters well north of New England.
On Monday, a Snowy Owl was spotted at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport. The large birds of prey have been seen up and down the Connecticut coast since early November.
I found the owl quickly and took a few photos out the passenger’s side window, but a passerby flushed the large bird. (Remember to give them a wide berth if you see one.) I found the bird about half an hour later and snapped a few photos from a sidewalk that dog walkers were using. The owl just watched everybody walk by.
Oh, and the weather was foggy with a steady rain falling. (My excuse for the photos not being so great.)
Experts believe this year’s irruption is due to either a lack of lemmings, their main food source in the Arctic, or a particularly good breeding year for Snowy Owls, or a combination of those factors.
Snowy Owls hunt during the day, unlike many owl species. They are large owls, measuring 24 inches tall.
This one’s hot off the press (in fact not even off the press yet, but will be on Thursday morning.)
Here’s a link to my latest For the Birds column about the Snowy Owl irruption in New England. Click Here.
Snowy Owls and a Fork-tailed Flycatcher are grabbing all the headlines in Connecticut this week _ and deservedly so. Snowy Owls are being found up and down the coast and that flycatcher has been entertaining birders in Hadlyme.
I haven’t seen either species yet this fall/winter, but I thoroughly enjoyed a canoe trip on Long Island Sound this weekend. I launched from Pear Tree Point in Darien and canoed over to Green’s Ledge Lighthouse and back along the Darien coast. Common and Red-throated Loons were abundant. Long-tailed Ducks were constant companions and even uttered their unique song over and over.
But, for me, the highlight was Purple Sandpipers. I came across two flocks _ one a sizable flock of about two dozen; the other just two birds. Purple Sandpipers are hearty birds that live on rocky islands and breed in the Arctic. They winter on isolated rocks off the coast of New England, including Long Island Sound.
(Way more photos below. Click on “continue reading.”)