This past weekend, on a beautiful SUNNY, WARM day, adventure-buddy Sarah Cass and I went to Ocean Shores to try and glimpse a rare view of the dozen or so snowy owls making the sandy spit of Damon Point home for the winter. We weren’t the only ones who had this idea. There were so many people out that the owls were surely spooked, probably flying to a nearby small island. We did spot two owls though and I managed to get some decent Internet worthy images. The experience was so magical, I’m going to try to make it out there one more time this weekend before they migrate back to Alaska! MAGIC, I tell you!!
The road out to the spit which no longer supports cars– a large section of the road appears to have been washed away.
We found this owl sitting quietly on a log, trying to get some shut-eye. Another photographer with a ten thousand dollar lens was camped out already, “sitting” on the owl. Soon after we found the bird, more people showed up and the owl, disturbed from slumber, spread its giant wings and flapped away to another part of the spit. I really wish I had a better lens! SO AMAZING. I think I had to remind myself to breathe after it flew away.
After the owl flew away and the other would-be wildlife photogs left, Sarah and I scrambled to the log where the owl had been perched and discovered a treasure! A SNOWY OWL PELLET!!! Apparently these guys live on the sand pipers that live on the spit. I carefully bagged the pellet for dissection later. I felt like I was in 5th grade.
We had passed this owl several hours earlier in the day but the sun was so bright and directly in our eyes, I just couldn’t get a good shot. Plus, there was at least half a dozen people crowding the owl. On our way back, we decided to stop again to see if the owl was still there. She was! We were able to get a much better view of her, with less people trampling about.
She was clearly asleep but still alert, her head continually turning in circles, listening to the snaps of a gazillion shutters. We watched her for nearly 20 minutes. At one point, she fluffed her feathers, and both Sarah and I let out a collective “Oooooooooh!” Ha!
Did I mention how magical this was? Apparently National Geographic had been out earlier in the week for a photo shoot, too.
After this lady, we didn’t see any other owls. We did, however, see many species of rare Washington Beach Walkers, which were in some respect more entertaining than the owls.
This dude and his dog were making a fire.
This gull was just trying to crack open a clam.
This guy’s dog knew he was a chick magnet.