Snowy Sunday Shots, 12/05/21

Although it had a slow start, yesterday was quite a day for me. I went to the Grasslands for sunrise and walked out to one of the blinds. Unfortunately neither the light nor the birds cooperated. I saw several Northern Harriers early on, but after rising, they seemed to be leaving the refuge to hunt; I saw at least 5 birds fly over the southern tree line and head out to the farm fields. Three hours in the blind with only one close encounter, and the light wasn’t very good.

~Snowy Owl in Newburgh NY, 12/04/21.~

Things improved when I went to the Wallkill River in Wallkill and located a good looking GREATER WHITE-FRONTED GOOSE. I was able to find a pull off on the road and get a decent shot of the bird.

~Beautiful goose. Greater White-fronted Goose in Wallkill, Ulster County, yesterday 12/04/21.~

I went home and had some lunch and did a few things around the house. In the afternoon I headed to the Newburgh Waterfront where I ran into birding bud Bruce Nott. He immediately got me on an adult Iceland Gull in his scope. The bird was nearly on the other side of the river, but the light was perfect and we enjoyed pretty darn good views of this super sharp looking bird.

BUT! The real excitement started shortly after that. I was scanning for gulls in my binoculars. On top of the ferry, I thought I saw something that looked like a SNOWY OWL. I whipped my scope around and got on it and said to Bruce “unless this is a fake, I’m looking at a SNOWY OWL!!!” We were, of course, freaking out; it was so exciting. Many other birders got to see the owl, which was really cool. I sat and waited as it got dark, figuring the bird would eventually pick up to go hunt. It was getting pretty dark, but sure enough the bird eventually left its perch on the ferry. I did okay with the flight photos, especially considering I had to shoot at ISO 16000. It’s the first time I’ve seen a Snowy in flight since 2014, so that was a thrill. From what I can tell, this bird looks like a one hit wonder, as it was not relocated today.

~A Snowy Owl on a boat, who’d of thought?~
~SNOW leaving its perch, 12/04/21.~

~Snowy Owl in flight over the Hudson River, 12/04/21.~
~This was my best shot at the Grasslands yesterday morning, 12/4/21.~
~Perched NOHA in the black dirt this morning, 12/05/21.~

16 thoughts on “Snowy Sunday Shots, 12/05/21”

  1. Matt nice talking with you yesterday. I always enjoy remembering the people I was with when I get a life bird. You now are attached to two birds in my history: the SNOWY OWL and ICELAND GULL. I love the shot of the Harrier. I am always trying to get one on the ground, but they always seem just out of range in the Black Dirt. Happy birding.

    1. Those are two birds I’ll happily be connected to! Good to spend some time with you yesterday, and happy birding to you too. Matt

  2. The Snowy flight shots are great Matt! Considering the fading light, you did well! Thanks so much for the timely post (and Bruce for the follow up call), and the miracle of getting down from Sullivan County with still enough light to see this beauty!


    1. I was so glad you got there – it was great to see you and to share the experience. I was happy with the flight shots considering the conditions! Matt

  3. Awesome on the Snowy (Jerzey Shore and Newburg) and Harrier!
    It could be an interesting year for Snowies.

  4. Hey Matt,
    It was great to see you on Saturday! Great photos and thanks for the heads up on the bird.

    1. It was great to see you Joe, and to meet your dad and brother. Glad you enjoyed the bird. Matt

    1. Benjamin, I heard a bird was reported in Beacon as well, but I heard it was a different bird. I don’t have any details, so hard to say. Matt

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