Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Snowy Owl

Our office has received lots of calls from the press regarding the Snowy Owl that was found by a hill-walker on Unst last Saturday. I've lost count of the times I've had to say "No, they are not breeding, no they have not been re-introduced and no, we don't have Lemmings here"!

I've been lucky enough to photograph many Snowy Owls in Alaska, across Arctic and coastal Canada and closer to home, in northern Europe. They are typically very hard birds to get close to, but in my experience, if you have lots of patience and the willingness to belly crawl for a couple of hundred metres, you'll do well and get images similar to my 'Blue Peter' one depicted above. My advice would be to forget using a tripod as you will not be able to stay low enough to the ground - instead, try and use an angle finder attached to your camera and a bean bag / ground pod for support.

Its stay in the Crussa Field / Nikka Vord area would appear to be short-lived. Unst, however, is a big island and there is a huge amount of habitat for a Snowy Owl to go and lose itself - in 1986 when my late friend Andreas Clarke and I visited Unst as teenagers, it took us two full days of searching to find one of the summering birds! So fingers crossed that it reappears to allow everybody the chance to enjoy this very special bird. To sit and stare in to the piercing yellow eyes of these enormous Arctic owls really is something special...


Mary Howell Cromer said...

WOW OH WOW~ How delightful for you, and the image is sweet perfection~

Dominic Gendron said...

Very nice shot! Great blog i am discovering ;)