Through November and December I had been forced to watch this year's incredible snowy owl irruption from behind my computer screen. While seemingly everyone else on the east coast had owls coming out of their ears, I was stuck in DC with no car and no time to chase anything. Like a child, I resorted to passive-agressive jealousy, sending out sassy tweets like these:
I knew I'd have a chance to join the lucky hordes of birders when I came to Maine for Christmas. Was I successful, you ask? Thanks for asking. Yes, yes I was. Let me tell you about it.
I got home late on Sunday and had some emergency gift-shopping to do on Monday morning. I told my mom that I was going to look for a snowy owl before I looked for gifts, and this intrigued her enough to tag along. Of course, finding a Snowy Owl is never a sure thing, even in a year such as this, so I tempered her hopes and we headed to the airport. Also, it was sleeting, so that sucked.
SUSPENSE? No, I found an owl almost as soon as I got out of the car. Whammy! A heavily-barred bird in a grassy median between runways. Awesome. I showed my mom, her first snowy owl ever. (Aside: I reported the bird to the listserv and was sent a stern response that one shouldn't report airport owls because they'd be shot. This is something I knew well, but didn't think was an issue in Portland. Turns out it had been, but the same pressure that forced a change at JFK also forced a change at Portland, which now traps and releases owls.) Anyway, here's my mom (owl not visible):