For the past couple of weeks, Snowy Owls have been making a significant push into the northeast. They appear to be concentrating in coastal areas, but are making their presence known in the Great Lakes region as well. There are only a few inland records thus far, but folks should definitely be on the lookout!
Anyway, I’ve been enviously watching reports pour in from surrounding states. We finally had our first report on the 26th from the Dover Air Force Base, which is extremely tricky to access. Unfortunately, only one non-Air Force birder was able to see the bird. The bird gods did wonderful things since then and granted Delaware birdersbir with a lone Snowy Owl report from Cape Henlopen yesterday and three reports today!
I was getting restless when I read reports from the Indian River Inlet area, which is about two hours south of Newark. I finally broke down and left the office when Anthony Gonzon reported a Snowy Owl at Port Mahon Rd., which is only an hour way. CHA-CHING. I was out the door and on my way shortly after he reported the owl. I busted down to Little Creek in less than an hour and ran into a handful of birders watching the owl along Port Mahon Rd.
The owl was perched on a telephone pole along the road for several minutes before a fisherman drove by and flushed the bird to a nearby island. It was harassed by several Great Black-backed Gulls and a Northern Harrier as soon as it landed. I watched the bird for about 20 minutes before the harrier hustled it out of sight.
The owl was relatively cooperative, allowing me to get a decent digiscoped video with my iPhone 5 + Celestron Regal 80F-ED & Phone Skope Adapter. Please disregard the scratch on my phone lens and water spots on the scope eyepiece. Watch in 1080p for best quality.
I’ll be searching for more Snowy Owls and trying to find other rarities in Sussex County tomorrow. Hopefully I’ll have more media to share!