Hello everyone:
The immature/female SNOWY OWL was observed in the waning light of the evening from about 5pm to5:30pm. The bird shows dark barring on the chest and all upperparts. The face and underwing is snow white. I was parked at the pulloff at the south end of the dam when the bird flew into the small, iced over cove nearest the dam. He perched on the ice for a while, tried hunting low over the rocky shoreline and eventually perched in a dead tree on the point where they are building a rock jetty out into the lake. The bird returned to this dead tree again and again as he made several passes at the roosting Canada Geese in the water. At one point, the owl made a very aggressive run at a dozen Snow Geese that flew in to roost with the Canada's(maybe he recognized those birds!). I never saw the Snowy Owl make a kill, but he was sure trying. I hope he figures out how to kill a goose soon, because it is friggin' COLD right now!
Linda Williams arrived at last light and saw the bird, but it was too dark for photos. I got some serviceable pictures by digiscoping, but had trouble getting my hands to stop shaking! Linda said she was coming out at first light tomorrow morning to try for some good pictures.
I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that I just watched a Snowy Owl hunting at Smithville Lake!!! Not to mention a much sought-after life bird, the Snowy was number 306 this year for me in Missouri. WOW!
Happy Holidays!
Doug Willis
Liberty, MO
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