Snowy Owl

It’s no secret. We’ve been invaded by ghosts from the north here in the Northeast. On a blustery cold New Year’s Day, I set out to spot one. A Snowy Owl had been reported at the base of Killington Ski Area for nearly a month and I had my sights on finding it.

A shockingly awesome bird.

The hunt turned out to be quite easy. I spotted the owl before I even got out of the car. It was sitting placidly on the top of an electric pole watching snow boarders glide past. But with a gust of wind it was suddenly off, up slope, to a perch on the top of a red spruce.

I dashed through the parking lot in pursuit. Camped near a busy lift line with Grateful Dead blasting in the background, I watched the owl scanning the area and balancing against the strong wind gusts. Slowly, skiers spotted me with my lens and tripod. Camera phones popped out. Suddenly, the owl was a star.

When I had just about given up all hope of a good photograph and my camera battery was running low from the cold, it flew. And remarkably, it landed in the snow just 50 feet from me with its back turned toward me. I begged it to look my way. Suddenly, the sun hit its head and it turned.

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