What do snowy owls do during the day? Most of the time by my observations they sleep or go between sleeping and waking up. A few times I have seen them fly to catch prey. The appear to be mostly sedentary during the day.
I saw two different owls this day. This is the same owl when I arrived and before I left. I was there around 4 hours, but watching them maybe less than half of the time I was there. They appear to have remained in the same locations from the time I arrived until when I left. All the photographers seemed to be respectful and keep a distance.
Can you tell if these are male or female snowy owls? At the website Allaboutbirds.org it says “Male Snowy Owls are barred with dark brown when they’re young and get whiter as they get older. Females keep some dark markings throughout their lives. Although the darkest males and the palest females are nearly alike in colour, the whitest birds—including the ones that played Harry Potter’s Hedwig—are always males and the most heavily barred ones are always females.“
These four separate owls were all in the same general area , not far apart, on a beach one day. Some of these owls may be juveniles, born this year in the Arctic and may still be changing in colour. What do you think? Which ones are female and are any male?
It was not a good day light wise, but we are having cloudy and rainy conditions all this week it appears. However, this trip I saw four snowy owls. Below are pictures of one of them. I know there were four because I was watching one not far away, then two flew in to hang out at opposite ends of a jetty, shortly thereafter a fourth flew in and hung out on a nearby tree.
Even when you think the weather may not be ideal get out , explore, and enjoy nature. You may be pleasantly surprised.
Which owl is a year round NY resident is tiny, and it is well camouflaged and hard to spot in the wild? It’s the Eastern Screech Owl.
This is one owl I have yet to come across in the woods and would like to see. However, I know it will be difficult, so when given the opportunity to see one up close I jumped on it.
These owls are short and stocky with almost no neck. They can be mostly gray or mostly a reddish brown colour. Notice the one above is about the size of a pine cone.
They camouflage well against tree bark. Their size and colouring make them difficult to spot. People have been able to sight them at the hole in the tree they reside in. They tend to block the tree hole and blend in well with the bark.
According to Birdfeederhub.com their diet includes songbirds, mice, rats, moles, squirrels, insects, earthworms, and lizards. The ability to take down a squirrel or rat surprised me given their size.
Greenburgh Nature Center
I viewed this owl at the Greenburgh Nature Center. This nature center has a variety of trails, programs, and events on a 33 acre nature preserve. They take care of some birds of prey. They currently have eagles, hawks, a screech owl, and a great horned owl. These birds cannot be released into the wild due to an event such as a collision with a car. Sites such as the Greenburgh Nature Center receive birds determined to be non-releasable from wildlife rehabbers who cared for them right after the event in which they were injured.
The Greenburgh Nature Center is located at 99 Dromore Road in Scarsdale, NY. It is a short drive north of New York City in Westchester County. To learn more click on the link below:
It is the season of giving. Support your local wildlife rehabbers and places like the Greenburgh Nature Center. These places help us learn more about wildlife, provide us an opportunity in some cases to see wildlife up close, and help animals in need. Happy holidays!
Not sure what this snowy owl ate. I have yet to see it with prey. One time I saw one fly into the grass. It appeared to have caught a mouse or other small animal, but we could not see through the grass.
Get out and enjoy the great outdoors. Keep a distance from the wildlife.
I went to this location after it stopped raining for a short trip. I was lucky. I saw this owl flying over a wetlands being chased by seagulls on my way in. I parked in the parking lot and only walked a very short distance and the same owl it appears flew over my head being chased by gulls. It landed on the beach. There were kite surfers there and it appeared to frighten the owl a few times into short flights. The gulls kept watch on it throughout my time there, flying close to it.
The conditions were very windy. It made it hard to stay still. It was hard to get sharp in focus images. All of these were taken with a 150-600 mm zoom and are heavily cropped. Get out and enjoy nature! There is so much around you if you stop to notice.
Many birds leave the northeastern part of the United States and Canada this time of year and head to warmer locals where finding food is easier. Loons migrate to the Long Island Sound and points south. Most Great Blue Herons and Ospreys have headed south. Can you name a bird that treats New York and New England as their Florida in the winter? One bird is the snowy owl.
Behaviour Around Snowy Owls
Some snowy owls from the Arctic in Canada arrived early this year. Some were seen as early as October. If you hear of them on one beach hanging out multiple days and you don’t see them head to a neighbouring beach. Don’t bring a dog. I have seen them fly off at the sight of one. Keep your voice down. Unfortunately I witnessed a man last year yelling near an owl twice and he caused it to fly off both times. Don’t go too close. Move slowly within eyesight of it and don’t make sudden moves.
Snowy Owl Habits
These birds spend most of their time sleeping during the day. They tend to fly and start hunting right before sunset. Usually they are here from around December through March.
This owl was perched on a huge plastic container of some sort. I don’t know if it is something boats use or if it is industrial debris. Kind of sad, but it is one more sign of how prevalent plastic debris is.
I enjoy seeing the many faces of the snowy owl. Get out and enjoy nature. Follow the rule of trips in wild areas: carry in, carry out.
Want another lake to paddle just outside the village of Saranac Lake in the Adirondack Mountains of New York? Lake Colby may fit the bill. Lake Colby is on Route 86 just north of the village of Saranac Lake and across the street from the Adirondack Medical Center. It has a swimming beach with a large parking lot at the south end of route 86 and a boat ramp with parking on the north end of Route 86.
This was the second lake I hit in the same day on a short weekend trip in October. The weather did not cooperate most of the time. It was mostly overcast and dark during this day with short periods with brief views of blue skies.
Although it has been said there are loons and eagles here I did not see any. Eagles seem to travel between bodies of water in the Adirondacks. I did see multiple great blue herons and Canadian Geese.
It seemed like there were only a few houses or camps along this lake. I saw no camping signs, however, other websites say there are two on the lake. These campsites are usually first come first served.
This is another lake I highly recommend. It had nice scenery, it is close to the village of Saranac Lake, and has wildlife to see. Viewing wildlife is always a plus for me. I did not take pictures on the opposite side. It had an old railroad tracks that people were fishing from.
You can not always pick your weather. Sometimes I really wish I could. I went up to the Adirondack Mountains on a three day weekend in October. The day I went to this pond it was dreary in the morning. I will kayak even if it is raining.
How to Access
Little Clear Pond can be accessed off State Route 30 on the Adirondack Fishery Road. The sign above is on the Adirondack Fish Hatchery Road.
The road leading to it is dirt/ gravel. It breaks off at one point. If I remember correctly it also crosses a road that is used for a snowmobile route. It was very muddy there with the rain.
Little Clear was the only one marked on the map with a boat ramp. It appears it is a canoe carry to Little Green Pond. I may have to check that out in the future, but canoe carries I found usually mean a dock. As a kayaker I prefer a boat ramp. I could be wrong though.
It is near the fishery. The fishery uses this pond so fishing is not allowed.
‘This appeared to be a young loon. It was hanging around waiting for its mother to feed it. The parent appeared to be handing fish off to it underwater. Not too long before they fly south. I hope this young loon has learned to fish on its own so it can follow its parent south. I also saw Merganser ducks here, but they kept quite a distance.
Dos and Don’ts
There are several things not allowed because the Adirondack Fish Hatchery uses this pond. Fishing is not allowed. According to an article written by Spencer Morrissey in the Adirondack Daily Enterprise this pond is used as a breeding ground for landlocked salmon. So loons and eagles are known to be seen here. Camping is not allowed along this pond either for the same reason and motor boats are banned. Canoes and kayaks are welcome.
I highly recommend this pond. They do have a larger parking area than most ponds. I saw one other boat that morning and another came before I left. So it is a quiet place, nice to take a small group. Seeing loons is a bonus as well as having a chance of seeing eagles.
Even in less than ideal conditions go out and enjoy nature. Stay safe and stay healthy!
They say the colours were not brilliant this year. I had a three day weekend and decided to visit the Adirondacks regardless and get some hiking and kayaking in. I was there for a day and a half. The following pictures I took whilst kayaking Mirror Lake in Lake Placid on the morning I left to return home.
Get out and enjoy the outdoors even if they say the conditions will not be optimal. You will appreciate it anyways.