Snowy Owl going for it’s Prey on the Milwaukee Lakefront on December 26, 2017

I watched this perched Snowy Owl for a couple of short minutes this morning on the Milwaukee lakefront. Then it’s head went up and looked to the north as if it had heard something. A moment later it took to the air and headed north out of sight. It was a cold morning with temps around -5 F and very little wind, the sun made it feel not too bad. Here are a couple flight shots as it left the area. Images were taken on December 26, 2017.

The Snowy Owl just after lift off…

Just smooth sailing for this Snowy Owl…

On its way to its prey…

Snowy Owl at Bradford Beach in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 15, 2017

A nice surprise! As I sat in my car looking for any sign of a gull at Bradford Beach this morning off in a distance I spotted this big white bird flying to the south. It was over the water and then heading right towards me. Still off in a distance, I thought, gezz, this gull, looks almost like a Snowy Owl. As I watched, it landed on the beach, to my surprise, it was a Snowy Owl. As I was getting out of my car, I was not surprised to see a dog walker with their dog walking towards me. I quickly got a few images as I knew time time was running out with this dog coming. I watched the owl look to the road, then back towards the dog, that was it, the owl headed out over the water. I never saw a Snowy Owl on a beach before, not that I could remember. It was a dull morning with cloudy skies, temps around 16, and a good wind out of the west. Images were taken on December 15, 2017.

Snowy Owl right after landing…

The head pops up…

The Snowy Owl looks to the road…

The Snowy Owl looks to the dog getting closer…

And off it goes out over the water…

Snowy Owl in the snow at the Lake Express in Milwaukee Wisconsin on December 9, 2017

With the first snow fall of the season that I was present in Milwaukee, I checked the Lake Express for a Snowy Owl. A Snowy Owl was present just enjoying the falling snow. It looked right at home in this surrounding. It was very cold, with temps in the high teens, and a stiff wind out of the north with cloudy skies, it felt like below zero. Images were taken on December 9, 2017.

Snowy Owl Snoozing with the Moon in Milwaukee County Wisconsin on December 8, 2017

While doing some birding in Milwaukee County this morning I came across a Snowy Owl. It was perched on top of a large dirt pile. For the most part the Snowy Owl was resting and left undisturbed, a couple of times the eyes almost opened.  The moon made a nice back drop for the Snowy Owl image. I took a couple of images and left the area. It was a very cold morning, full sun with temps in the teens, stiff winds made it bitter cold out there. Images were taken on December 8, 2017.

Snowy Owl snoozing with the moon…

Snowy Owl at Lakeshore State Park in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 28, 2017

Starting out birding at Lakeshore State Park in the morning provided great views of a not only the beautiful Purple Sandpiper I recently reported, but also a stunning Snowy Owl. Walking the paths at the park the Snowy Owl was found sitting in a large rock area between some rocks. Staying a good distance away motionless I sat for about 20 minutes and then the bird perched up on a higher rock for another 20 minutes. Under no pressure, I was waiting patiently for a flight shot, the owl eventually took flight and flew over and landed middle of the walk bridge to the island and landed on the railing. A woman walking walked up the bridge not even seeing owl along with a gull all came together at once and I heard a scream! The owl flew to the fishing pier to where I was near. The Snowy Owl sat on the hand railing there for about 15 minutes before a family walked out on the fishing pier for a family photo shoot with the skyline not seeing the owl. The owl flushed across the lagoon to some rocks near the water. It took 3 drinks in front of a handful of Mallards. There was not interaction between the Snowy Owl and ducks. After about 15 minutes at that location the Snowy Owl flew to the north out of sight. Maybe out to a breakwall. The Snowy Owl put on an amazing show. I stopped at Lakeshore State Park this morning for some general birding, no sign of the Snowy Owl, it is hanging out some where else I guess. That Lakeshore State Park sure presents some great birds on an annual basis, wow! Images were taken on November 28, 2017.

Images are in order of the way the events happened…

Hanging out between some big rocks at the park…

Always looking around in all directions for predators…

Perches up on a large rock, then minutes later the Snowy Owl flies to the walk bridge to the island at the park…

Always looking around in all directions for predators…tail up, looks like he is about to fly….

Here the Snowy Owl flies to the walk bridge to the island and lands on the railing, then the walker comes along… and it flushes to the fishing pier

Flying to the fishing pier…

Perched on the fishing pier railing…

Moments before the family walks up the ramp to the fishing pier…

The Snowy Owl flies across to this location and immediately takes a drink, a total of 3 here as the Mallards go about their business…

It appeared there was absolutely interaction between the ducks and the Snowy Owl…

Drinking…

Right after a drink…

After the drink and some passing time, the Snowy Owl takes to the sky and heads north out of sight…

Snowy Owl at the Lake Express Ferry in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November 14, 2017

The Snowy Owl along the lakefront in Milwaukee gave nice views this morning. Not much action other than some preening and a yawn. Still nice to see this beautiful owl. Images were taken on November 14, 2017.

A little preening here…

The yawn…

 

Laying low as a Northern Harrier was in the area

 

In the planter

Snowy Owl at the Lake Express Ferry in Milwaukee Wisconsin on November, 6 2017

The highlight on the Milwaukee lakefront this morning was a Snowy Owl at the Lake Express Ferry. It only hung around resting on top of a container for a couple of minutes before took off and landed on the breakwall. A majestic bird that always makes you stare at it. It was a cold day with temps around 35 degrees and some sun and a breeze. Images were taken on November 6, 2017

Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Snowy Owl on the Milwaukee Lakefront on October 31, 2017

A Snowy Owl was found on the Milwaukee lakefront this morning. It had caught an American Coot for something to eat and was sitting on that during the picture taking. The bird never moved from the spot while I was present. First one of the fall season reported in the area that I know of. It was a cold morning with stiff winds and little sun to warm up with. Images were taken on October 31, 2017.

Snowy Owl with the American Coot

Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Just looking around, this bird seemed content just sitting there. Probably resting from a long flight…

The back view…

Snowy Owl near the Horicon Marsh on January 27, 2015

I made a run up to the Horicon Marsh this morning to see what was going on. I guess the highlight was a Snowy Owl on a pole. Other species present were a couple of Rough-legged Hawks, 5 Red-tailed Hawks, 5 American Kestrels. No Northern Goshawk today. I watched this Snowy Owl for awhile on the pole as it looked and listen. It gave nice views but never left the pole when I was present. Even though a little sun was in the forecast, it never came out. With mild temps, just another gloomy January day near the Horicon Marsh. Images were taken on January 27, 2015

The yawn

The yawn

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

Preening

Preening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

Looking and listening

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

The stretch

Preening

Preening

Snowy Owls and more near the Horicon Marsh on January 14, 2015

I decided to make a run up to Horicon Marsh this morning. I had not been up there yet this winter and it was time. I met Dave Frerik up there early am and we had an exciting morning with  2 Snowy Owls, at least 6 Rough-legged Hawks, Northern Harrier and a couple of American Kestrels being the highlights.  Gloomy day with just a few snow flurries and cold temps, definitely felt like winter.  Images were taken on January 14, 2015.

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Snowy Owl, female

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It captures a vole here, it is in the front!

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Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

Rough-legged Hawk

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Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee on January 4, 2015

I did some birding today along the lakefront in Milwaukee and there was a little excitement. The Snowy Owl was present at the Lake Express and gave nice views. After about 15 minutes it took flight to its normal hangout. Mike W showed up and we hit Jones Island as a place he suggested. Mike picked out a American Wigeon right away. Also present were 5 male Northern Pintails, 4 male American Black Ducks, a male and female Wood Ducks that stayed hung tight together. Other species present about 300 Mallard Ducks, some Common Goldeneyes, Lesser Scaups and Common Mergansers. I hit a few beaches and the normal common gulls. Lakeshore State Park had 3 Glaucous Gulls. All and all a fun day out birding other than the falling snow and winds. Some documentation shots. Images were taken on January 4, 2015.

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Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle

Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle, Lakeshore State Park doc shot

Glaucous Gull (1) 1st winter

Glaucous Gull (#1) 1st winter Lakeshore State Park – doc shot

Glaucous Gull (#2) 1st winter right, Glaucous Gull (#2) 2nd cycle left - doc shot Lakeshore State Park

Glaucous Gull 2nd cycle left, Glaucous Gull (#2) 1st winter Lakeshore State Park – doc shot

American Wigeon, rare sight on this date, doc shot

American Wigeon, rare sighting on this date, doc shot

Snowy Owl at the Lake Express in Milwaukee Wisconsin November 29, 2014

I made a run into Milwaukee to see the Snowy Owl at the Lake Express that had been reported. When I arrived at 8:00 am, the Snowy Owl was no where to be seen. I birded other parts of the lakefront with nothing major to report. I stopped at the Lake Express one more time before leaving the lakefront and the Snowy Owl was present. It was sitting out near a pipe, moved 10 feet from that location in the next couple hours and remained a very long distance from the best viewing point. The first Snowy Owl sighting of the season is always a special treat no matter how far away it is from viewing. It was a pleasant day out on the lakefront with mild temps, some sun early and low winds. It was a fun day too seeing some old birding friends and meeting some new. Images of the beautiful female Snowy Owl were taken on November 29, 2014.

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Snowy Owl

Binomial name: Bubo scandiacus

Category: Typical Owls

Description: Adult males are mostly white with a few dark feather tips.  Adult females and juveniles are white with dark scalloping on chest, back, wings, and tail.  Yellow eyes, black beak, and feathery feet.

Size: 20”- 28” long, 49” – 59” wingspan

Weight: 3.5 lb. – 6.6 lb.

Habitat: Wide open, treeless spaces such as shorelines, lakes, open fields, and agricultural sites.

Diet: Small mammals such as rodents, lemmings, voles, mice, rats, rabbits, squirrels, raccoons, and other birds such as shorebirds, songbirds, ducks, geese, and pheasants.

Nesting: The female builds a nest on a mound with good visibility.  She scrapes away the top layer of soil and, over several days, presses her body into the ground to make a depression.  She will lay a clutch of 3 to 11 eggs and incubate them for about 5 weeks.  Both parents will defend the nest and care for the hatchlings which are born pure white.  The same nest may be used year after year.

Notes: Snowy owls are considered the heaviest owl in North America, weighing about a pound more than its closest contender, the Great Horned Owl.  A snowy owl was featured in the Harry Potter series when Harry received his pet, Hedwig.  It is also the official bird of Quebec.

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