Snowy Owl

Jones Beach is known for its 6.5 miles of white sand on the
Atlantic Ocean on New York’s Long Island. It is also known for its outdoor concerts in warmer months and drive through holiday lights display November through January. What is it also known for this year? It is known for some snowy owls who are visiting from a much colder climate.

The owl mostly slept all morning on top of a sand dune. Once in a while it would open an eye slightly.

Jones Beach is a barrier island encompassing 2,400 acres on the south shore of Long Island. It is a state park that includes the West End Energy and Nature Center at West End 2.

Eyes opened! Quick take a shot!

It has a variety of birds that can be seen at different points in the year including oystercatchers, terns, northern harper hawks, plovers, brants, and now the snowy owl. On the day I went I was told 2-3 were sighted there within a few days prior. That day I found one.

At this point in the day the weather would not look promising. Both eyes opened! Ocean is the dark area in the background.

I arrived around 10 in the morning, but took a long break in the middle of the afternoon to warm up in my car. I ended up leaving around 6 p.m. The light varied throughout the day from dark and cloudy to very sunny.

If you go to spot a snowy owl, know they are protected. Don’t make any unnecessary noise and keep a distance. I believe the sign at the entrance says to stay at least 100 feet away. It also stated there was a 250 dollar fine for violating that. I did see one person early on who I think was doing just that as he was low crawling up one side of the dune the owl was sleeping on. I have a zoom lens and these are cropped a lot.

This was later in the afternoon. I stuck to the shady side as it appeared to me the owl was facing this way most of the time. I hope to go again and have the sun to my back. I never heard a sound from this owl. The surf was high that day and it was windy. I think this was actually a yawn.

I was so happy to get this opportunity to see this owl. My friends Andrew and his wife Theresa let me know about this place to view the owls. Thank you Andrew and Theresa! I will post more pictures taken in the late afternoon and evening in another post. Happy New Year everyone!

29 thoughts on “Snowy Owl”

  1. Snowy Owl On Friday, January 1, 2021, Sharon’s Iconic Travel Photography Blog wrote:

    > sharonsiconictravelphotographyblog posted: ” Jones Beach is known for its > 6.5 miles of white sand on the Atlantic Ocean on New York’s Long Island. It > is also known for its outdoor concerts in warmer months and drive through > holiday lights display November through January. What is it also known fo” >

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    1. I find most do. However in a National Wildlife Refuge near where I live there are people who don’t. Some trails are closed Friday -Sunday and people still do not follow the trail closure signs. You are supposed to stick to the trails and I have seen people who obviously did not being in the middle of the field. You would think they would realize they could accidentally step on a sleeping owl.

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      1. Usually there are people there that will yell at people if they get too close. The owl police were not there, or maybe like the low crawler they were out of view of most people. In the morning almost everyone was watching from one side. Later in the afternoon people were on three sides.

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      2. I was there most of the day. Went back to my car to warm up. It did not fly until sunset when I got off another dune I had parked myself in so no shots of it flying. I am happy with what I got though. I took b over 1,000 shots because I could not tell if he was looking at me or if he had an eye open all the way. I did catch it a few time looking straight at me with both eyes open but most of the shots before dark were one eye partially open. In the park 8 hours .

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    1. Jerry I was there from 10-6. I only have a few photos where he looked directly at me with both eyes wide open. Most of the day one eye was slightly open. On this day this owl slept through most of the daylight hours. It has in the past flown in the afternoon in search of a meal, but no such luck that day. You can’t have everything. With wildlife have to have time, patience, and luck. I hope to go again in the coming weeks.

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  2. Beautiful shots, congrats! We had a young female SO showing up every winter around Kent Island on the Chesapeake Bay, sitting on top of roofs of homes and marina buildings. Never made for a pretty shot, lol, but I was thrilled to see and photograph one. Shots done on beach dunes are the prize winners!

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    1. Evidently there are a few beaches they park on for the winter on Long Island and NJ. I was thrilled to see one. Yes, such a big beach with lots of dunes makes it even better. I hope to go back within a few weeks weather and time permitting. I want to catch it flying. I was climbing down the dune when it flew at sunset. So I missed it in flight. Some lucky people saw it fly mid afternoon on a previous day. I saw video someone posted from I think Massachusetts where it was hanging out on buildings and occasionally rocky shore.

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