Tuesday, January 21, 2014

White Owl


My dad used to smoke White Owls back in the 60s. He gave them up by 70s, thank goodness. I used to get a headache from the smoke. Now my family reads my blog, but the statute of limitations has run out on bone-headedness. My brother and I used to sneak into his pickup truck and light up the buts. Nasty. That was just boys being boys and I’m sure we got busted somewhere along the way.

I was always fascinated by the White Owl logo. I can remember driving by this building in Rutland, Vermont hundreds of times in the 60s and 70s when I was a kid. I was fascinated by the White Owl cigar add mural that was on this building. It was interesting to see that when the building was repainted, they put another owl up. It adds a touch of nostalgia and when I saw this for the first time, I thought, “That was nice of them to do that for me. I still have my landmark.” And thanks to the interweb I don’t have to drive the 167 miles to get this shot.


As a youngster I didn’t think that I’d ever get to see one of these birds in person. Snowy owl are found in the far north. Fast forward 45 years and now I’m shooting my own white owls. Pretty slick, especially since I only had to drive 15 miles to get my real white owl. Yes, I’ve had a fascination with this bird for a long time, and now that we are having an irruption I’m getting some opportunities. Well, sort of.

I was beside myself to get my life Snowy Owl a couple of weeks ago in the front yard. I even stooped to digiscoping without the proper gear.  The other day, just to get out of the house and (more importantly out from under the Mrs.’s feet) I headed up to Plum Island. And sure enough I spotted a Snowy. He flew over the dunes and landed on a fence. Okay, okay, I think I can work with this.

Snowy Owl 12 January 2014 - 001

I walked around to a different spot in hopes of getting a better background, let alone foreground. By the time I walked around the building, he flew down to the ground. Geese Louise! There are only four rusty fences in the frame, and he’s tight up against one!

Snowy Owl 12 January 2014 - 003

I walked around to a neighboring dune. Hmmm, there are only six fence sections in this photo! AAAAHHH!

Snowy Owl 12 January 2014 - 005

Okay, it is what it is! I’m keeping my distance so as not to stress the bird. I took some shots and left him to enjoy his visit to Massachusetts.

Snowy Owl 12 January 2014 - 010

I went into the Plum Island Wildlife Refuge for a couple of hours and returned to see if I could get  a better shot. Nope, but what a wonderful creature!

Snowy Owl 12 January 2014 - 017

Good birding! Enjoy Wild Bird Wednesday this week!


John @ Sinbad and I on the Loose said...

Smoking old used cigar butts? Gross doesn't even come close! I'll try to get that thought out of my mind today. Those are wonderful photos of a stunning bird, even with all the rusty fences.

TexWisGirl said...

how awesome for you!

eileeninmd said...

The Snowy owls are gorgeous. So glad you were able to see your white owl! Great sighting Steve!

Dave said...

Lovely post Steve, reminiscing is good for the soul!

And of course what a bird..... I hope to see one.... maybe one day

Carletta said...

I never smoked although both my parents did. Years later when I could smell smoke on some of my classroom kids I wondered if my classmates could smell it on me.
There were some excellent ads out there. :)
I think you ended up with some wonderful shots of the owl!
I've been fascinated with them since they appeared in Harry Potter. Such sweet faced birds. Apparently there was a sighting here in WV this past November and reported long after the fact. I may yet get my chance at seeing one as well. :)

Gordon said...

Love those shots of the Snowy, its as if He's playing a game with you , mischievous look in his eye.
All the best Gordon.

HansHB said...

A lovely post!

Gunilla Bäck said...

Awesome! I've only seen them at the zoo.

Christian Weiß said...

Great bird and post.

Carole M. said...

they are indeed a majestic bird Steve; maybe another time you'll get lucky i.e. a snowy owl without the fencing, just sitting on the fence post perhaps. Enjoyed your commentary along the way; boys will be boys ...

NatureFootstep said...

thanks for sharing teh event. :) Last shot is a great one. :)

thewovenspoke said...

Fantastic shits, I would love to see one in person some day. I saw a program on pbs about snow owls so fascinating a creature.

brujolito said...

My daughter saw one on Cranes this weekend. Not surpRising since it is just a quick hop over the Ipswich River

Nora at Island Rambles said...

Wonderful photos of the Snowy Owl...nice to see this time of year. It is big excitement when we get one here. cheers.

Karen said...

I think they are great shots! I've been on the lookout here,
two Snowy Owls have been spotted in the area!

EG CameraGirl said...

I remember those cigars - my grandfather used to smoke them!

The snowy owls sure have traveled south this winter!

Roy Norris said...

They are a beautiful bird Steve.

Janice Adcock said...


Wally Jones said...

Congratulations on your Snowy Owl encounters!
We actually had one visit northeast FLORIDA!
I wasn't able to make the trip to see it, but sure would love to see one.

Nice work on getting your shots!

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