Monday, January 20, 2014


Today we were off early in quest of photographs of the snowy owl. This bird usually lives in Canada and comes South in the winter, but not this far South. They have been seen here every couple of years. One of the gentlemen here in Bettendorf does a great deal of work with the photographing and video of the bald eagles. This is his passion. He loves to search out and photograph the owls as well. There had been reports of snowy owl sightings North of here so off we went.

The drive to the site was about an hour and a quarter. So we were up at 0530 and were rendezvousing with Stan and a couple of other photographers at 0700. We got up to the area and spread out on a search of the various farm roads. We spotted an owl sitting on a telephone pole, while another of the group and found an owl in one of the fields. We set up our gear at what we believed was a safe
distance. Shortly Stan came along and gave us more direction.

You will see that I was successful at getting some good photos of the owl. I am really happy with what I got. I also got some good processing advise from our host, Jay, to bring out the best of the pictures you will see. We only had one time where we got the owl flying in quest of a mouse on the snow. It seems that due to the weather their hunting has been very successful so they were not
attracted to our offerings.

(Remember that if you click on an image the whole set will go into a slide show mode.)

Around noon we headed for lunch in the nearby town, which was Ashton, IL. We had a very good lunch at the Huddle Cafe, and I purchased a coffee mug from them as a souvenir. After lunch we went back and found another snowy owl but it was way out in the middle of a field and did not seem at all interested in food. About 1400 we decided that the photo ops were poor to nil, and headed back to the Eagles. We thought that we might have some nice afternoon light, but as we drove the clouds built and it was totally overcast by the time we got to Lock & Dam 14 where the eagles like to feed. We did some photography, but the light just was not there so we finally headed for home.

It was a good day, and a real thrill to see and photograph the snowy owls. Tonight it is snowing and is expected to continue until about midnight. Then the temperature is to plummet to about -5˚F. The wind has already picked up, and will be a factor tomorrow. The temperatures will be about -15˚F to -25˚F with the wind chill!! Hopefully it warms up a bit in the afternoon so we can go photograph the eagles once again.

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