|Photo by Sam Bland|
Here's a great blog post and diary of an Outer Banks encounter with the Snowy Owl by Sam Bland of the North Carolina Coastal Federation. He is also an accomplished photographer, as evidenced above.
eBird, the online database of bird sightings run by the Cornell Lab of Ornithology and National Audobon Society. They show snowy owl sightings for November only, for 2009 (a non-invasion year), 2011 (the last big invasion), and 2013. Others are found later in the winter, of course, but these are restricted to November to allow comparison to 2013. Each marker represents a single location, but doesn't indicate anything about numbers of individuals. Notice how this year's flight is shifted sharply to the east, including observations on Newfoundland and Bermuda.
If you are lucky enough to see one of these majestic birds, please observe it from a respectful distance. Many of the snowy owls moving south are inexperienced, young birds, already stressed b hunger, and it may hurt their chances of survival if they are repeatedly approached and flushed by humans. Snowy owls favor very open habitats, such as fields, dunes, and marshes, so it should be possible to get good views of them from a long distance away.
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Check out one Outer Banks visitor's encounter with the Snowy Owl on his blog post here. He is an 18-year-old birder and photographer and was able to capture beautiful photos of the bird:
|Image courtesy of Lucas Bobay|