[Tweeters] Leque Island Unit, Eide Road, Snohomish County short eared owl, jan 24

retief at deweydrive.com retief at deweydrive.com
Mon Jan 25 13:50:54 PST 2016

As a photographer, and one who also happens to be very concerned about
harassment of any wildlife, even including photographers, I feel
compelled to reply to this post. Especially as I am one who frequents
this area myself quite often. And also as one who was concerned about
the health of this particular owl, especially after I reported a Snowy
a couple of years ago that was rescued and turned out to apparently
have been hit by a car. So, those are my "bona fides" as to why I
feel compelled to respond.

First, for you to make a statement that:
"As I recall it, photographers hounded an owl in that same area last
year to death" is inflammatory and in my opinion has no place at all
on this list. Why not blame the news broadcasters that plaster the
information all over? Any blanket condemnation is totally
inappropriate, I see bad behavior from all groups over time, yet do
not generalize.

Several of us that did see the owl in question took the time to
educate some of the folks, most of whom looked for a short time and
then moved on. For some, there was one very polite young lady, it was
an incredible treat for her to be able to view the owl. And she,
quite politely, kept distance as well.

To my knowledge, I was not there when this particular owl flew in to
this spot but I had friends who did observe, it was there for quite a
number of hours, I was only there a short time at Eide. In years of
observing these owls, at this and other locations, I am often amazed
at how long they will remain in one spot, I sure have never been able
to figure out what is "normal". From what I could see the owl did not
appear distressed, but as I learned with the Snowy a few years ago
looks can be deceiving so last night I left a report with the Wildlife
folks just in case.

My point to this reply is two fold. Condemnation of any group of
people is simply inappropriate. You bring up the hawk owl thread, and
once again single out "photographers". As I recall it appeared to be
a lot of people who annoyed the homeowner, but once again, in your
opinion I guess that only us "photographers" can be obnoxious.
Perhaps if you took a bit of your time to educate people, as I do, we
could all ensure that co-existence is quite possible.

Of course if I took your methods and decided to condemn other groups
on their treatment, well, I will just leave it at that.

Bad behavior is not relegated to any group of people. Someone much
wiser than I said something a long time ago about stones and glass

Oh, by the way, if any of you want to find me in the field to further
discuss, feel free. I am the short somewhat bald fellow generally
wearing Camo who is named 'Bill'. Perhaps between us we can actually
figure out a way to educate those who really are problems, including
the news organizations that help to send crowds to a lot of areas

And I did not even need to cool off :-)

Quoting dave templeton <crazydave65 at inbox.com>:

> Hi:


> On a whim, a couple of us went out and cruised around in the nice

> weather. By early afternoon, we arrived at Leque Island. We walked

> around a little while and came upon a group of 20 or 30

> photographers on the outside of a 25 foot or so circle. There was

> several hundred thousand dollars worth of equipment in the hands of

> the paparazzi gathered about. The lenses ran from several 600mms

> (coulda been an 800mm in the bunch, but several 600's for sure),

> some Wemblys on heavy duty tripods and lots of 200's and 400's in

> the bunch as well. I opined there must be some uncommon sparrow in

> the middle of the bunch and let it go at that. Shortly thereafter,

> another photographer volunteered the information that the bird at

> the center of the group was a short eared owl. My response was I

> kinda doubted the bird was feeling great about all the attention,

> but the volunteer said he'd seen the bird and it was appeared to be

> 'unstressed', and we wandered off back to the car.


> On the way home I thought about the encounter for a time and have

> concluded I'm either senile or stupid (or both), in that I left the

> area without really thinking things through, and I'm very

> disappointed in ME for not looking further into things at the time.

> As I recall it, photographers hounded an owl in that same area last

> year to death (long eared, as i recall it, but an owl of some kind

> for certain). And there has been the recent thread about the

> apparent untimely death of a hawk owl just a few weeks ago, likely

> as a result of the idiocy of a bunch of bird photogs. Further,

> thinking back on it, if there really was a short eared owl at the

> center of the event, I doubt it had enough room to get airborne even

> if it was not frozen in fear in the face of several hundred

> cumulative square feet of lens glass staring at it from every angle.


> Having had time to think about all this, and having had enough time

> to cool off, I still find my own failure to look further into

> matters at least embarrassing if not downright reprehensible I have

> decided to send this note out to the birding community as a whole to

> say what I think I will do if presented with a similar situation in

> future. First I will go see if there really is an owl in the center

> of a group of more than two dozen people being harassed by

> photographers. If it turns out that is the case, I will explain to

> those present that I think they are acting wrongly, and then I will

> call 911 and ask for a law enforcement representative to come out to

> the scene and see if (s)he agrees a crime is being committed. I

> have done a bit of research on the matter, and I believe the conduct

> I think took place out on Eide Road today violates Washington law,

> specifically RCW RCW 77.15.130 and WAC 232-12-011.


> This is not the first time the 'big honking lens' community of bird

> photographers has acted poorly, let's hope it's the last. Or that

> I'm wrong about it all, but I don't think that's the case.


> regards,


> t


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Bill Dewey
Marysville, WA

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