[Tweeters] snowys at Damon Point

Byers byers345 at comcast.net
Tue Feb 7 16:48:46 PST 2006

Hi, Fellow Tweeters,

My husband and I have seen Snowy Owls in the past, so we did not
run right out and try to find one when they began to appear in large numbers
last fall. We thought we would wait until it stopped raining. Of course,
we had a long wait and we finally got the break in the weather we wanted and
decided to walk out onto Damon Point at Ocean Shores to see if any of the
Snowys previously reported on Tweeters were still there. Damon Point had
been strafed by the recent storm and driftwood was tossed all over the
remains of the road like matchsticks. On the other hand, the sand to the
south of the road and pond had been washed clean of most vegetation, so
walking was not hard. Even though the weather was clear, it was still
fairly cold! As we marched past the pond, we observed a Peregrine Falcon
catch and eat a shorebird. Finally, as we reached the end of the pond, we
spotted first two, then four more, then one more Snowy Owl. They were
sitting mostly in groups of two and all fairly close together. We watched
in alarm as a man and his dog approached the owls from the side away from
us, but the owls seemed impervious to the dog and visa versa, and anyway the
man and dog skirted the owls on the ocean side. Then, several of the owls
took flight, some circling around and one flying away off toward the sea.
This was a spectacular thing to see. The cause became apparent: a Bald
Eagle was flying over, perhaps with malicious intent. The owls were taking
no chances. The eagle retired to the side and six of the owls returned.
Watching these magnificent white birds fly out over the waves tossing in the
harbor, then wheeling and coming back their driftwood perches has to be one
of the high points of my birding experience.

After watching for a while, just as we decided we were cold
enough to return to the car, a flock of 10-15 Snow Buntings flew in and
landed on the logs right next to the owls. This was only the second time
I've ever seen this bird (and the last time was 1986), so I was pretty
excited about this observation too.

Happy Birding,

Charlotte Byers

Seattle, WA

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