[CT Birds] Snowy owl

Roy Harvey rmharvey at snet.net
Mon Dec 1 17:02:04 EST 2014

Sorry for the length of this.

If you are going to go all that way you should have some idea of all the places worth checking.  This long-winded account covers a lot of them.  Note that all the "scanning" is with a scope, pretty much a necessity for all but the most cooperative Snowy Owls.

I went looking for the Stratford Snowy Owl on Saturday.  I started at Long Beach (across the marsh from the front of the airport).  From just past the end of the parking lot I scanned everything in view.  That meant down the beach and on all the rock jetties on the LI Sound side, all through the marsh with special attention paid to every bit of log or debris that might provide a perch, and the tops of all the warehouses, factories and the tank farm way off toward Bridgeport..  (My first sight of one, November 2000, was of a bird on the roof of a warehouse way, way, way across the marsh.)  Then I moved down the beach, almost as far as the cedars, and did it all again.  Then farther down, and scanned again.  No owl.  If there weren't people walking back from farther down the beach I might have kept going in case the bird was in the dunes, but I figures the traffic would have put it up long ago.

My second stop was Short Beach, also across from the airport but on the other side.  In past winters I have had them at short range near the channel that feeds the pond by the landfill at the north end.  I scanned across the river, all along the visible shoreline.  Then I started scanning the stone breakwater on the other side of the channel from where I was.  One possible unidentifiable white patch turned out, once I moved to change angles, to be rock.  Way out toward the far (south) end I saw an interesting white bump, so I walk down to get somewhat closer.  After watching long enough I saw the bump move, and after moving closer still could see it was indeed a Snowy Owl.  Really lousy looks, with extreme heat shimmer.

My search successful, I did not continue it, but here is what I could have been checking otherwise.

If the gate to Stratford Point was open (unlikely) I could have gone in an walked the trail along the cliff, as well as scanning the breakwater.

I could have driven into the airport, stopped at the parking area for observing the runway, and scanned everything in sight.

I could have gone to Knapp's Landing (just up river from Short Beach) and scanned the far shore.  Note that at the moment that requires going around the airport the long way.  And then Birdseye boat ramp, again scanning the far shore (marsh and beach of Milford Pt).

If all that failed, next stop would be Milford Point.  Scanning the marsh from the platform by the parking lot, and from the top of the tower, and from the platform way down west passed the last house (walking there on the Sound side, not the marsh side).  From the platform overlooking the beach, and various points along the beach, I would have scanned the sand bars and anything else above the water on the Sound side.

And if all that failed I might have gone to Silver Sands State Park and scanned the shores of Charles Island, right in front of it, along with anywhere else in view.

(I left out of Stratford going to the end of Long Beach Blvd, then going past all the buildings to the end and scanning everywhere in view.)

Hope that helps someone.

Roy Harvey
Beacon Falls, CT
----- Original Message -----

From: Kevin via CTBirds <ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org>
To: ctbirds at lists.ctbirding.org
Sent: Monday, December 1, 2014 4:15 PM
Subject: [CT Birds] Snowy owl

No I didn't see it ... I've been reading all the posts and was planning a trip today but instead concentrated on 2 red tails who love my left over turkey. Them seem to get along ... then at times argue. I had 2 hatch in my backyard this year, wondering if these could be them.

Onto the owl ... I know both beaches is the main one like across from the airport and the other where at the far end are the osprey nests?

Or should I check both spots and lastly has the owl been within decent photograhable range?

I kick myself for the Hammo owl this spring with the ospreys. Hopefully you guy's will spot more and I'll get my chance.


Kevin Doyle ...New Milford
Kevindoyle01 at charter.net
Sent from Blue Mail

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