As we all know in birding, sometimes you just have to show up. This morning is a case in point: I had a dermatology appointment (nothing like getting your ear frozen to start the day) and afterwards, decided to do my normal loop up by the nearby airport to check for owls or snow buntings.
I pulled into a favorite spot of ours near the Eye Center where we’ve seen Northern Shrikes and stopped the truck, noting a crow sweeping low over what looked like a grayish Walmart bag in the middle of the field. Sure enough, it was a young Snowy Owl about 100 yards away looking at me. I rolled down the truck window, watched it for a bit with binoculars, and fired off a bunch of shots with the Canon SX50. I called my friends at North Branch Nature Center and emailed a couple of others as I watched for about ten minutes. I decided to leave so as to not draw attention from the many patients coming and going from the medical offices.
After getting some coffee I swung back to see if my friends had seen it and sure enough, they were there with big smiles. The bird had moved into some taller grass and like me, they got it with a harassing crow’s help.
I can stop checking every clump of snow, every plastic bag, every abnormal lump in a field. With only three days left in Vermont before heading out, it’s great to end of a nice note — and to give some of my birding buddies a Christmas gift – a look at a Snowy. And I can write most of the mileage off as a medical expense.