The sandy barrier beach of Long Beach in Stratford, Connecticut, is an important and perfect spot for migrating birds. It only seemed right that a Snowy would show up there again. I don't know how many total birds were seen last year in Connecticut, but one can bet there will be a lot of excitement to see something similar again this year. And I was not disappointed today. My previous looks at visiting Snowies were dismal at best - they were either way off in the marsh where even scope views were minimal or not around at all.
Snowy owls, Bubo scandiacus, are large white owls from the arctic tundra. They have in lesser frequency traveled south and reports explaining last year's incredible number of wintering birds ranged from either a good season for offspring or chasing enough food driving birds south. Female birds are generally distinguished from males in being more heavily marked with dark brown or black.
The day began with a stopoff at the Birdseye Boat Ramp. American Coots were hanging out there - maybe ten birds in all. They are a soft charcoal grey color with an ivory white bill and bright red eyes. They are quite comical to watch with their stout bodies and strange calls and long toed feet. Yet, Nature designed them pefectly. Along with fellow birder, Donna Rae Henault Caporaso, we spent a short time with them before heading to Long Beach.
After passing the second jetty, Donna noticed a white 'bump' on the third one that seemed out of place. I set my camera on the tripod and took a look through my long lens since neither of us had binoculars. And sure enough, it turned out to be a Snowy Owl!
Enjoy them no matter what. It's a wonderful opportunity to see such beauty that Nature shares with us but also not to cause them to flee because they feel endangered. We share this world with them and to me it was enough being able to leave there satisfied to have seen such a beautiful bird and not cause her any unrest.
About Long Beach http://www.lisrc.uconn.edu/coastalaccess/site.asp?siteid=335
All About Birds - Snowy Owls http://www.allaboutbirds.org/guide/Snowy_Owl/id