In the Kingdom of the Snowy Owl

Our winter explorations of the wilderness areas of Cape Cod were taken to a new level this past week. Working with expert tracker and Cape Cod Naturalist Todd Kelley we embarked on an epic hike out on to a wintery and frozen Sandy Neck with the goal of walking all the way to the point and returning. Walking along the frozen edges of Barnstable marsh and into the beautiful maritime forests of red cedar, pine and even a few wild holly trees interspersed with theĀ  tundra-like feel of desolation and dunes was an awesome backdrop to search for the magnificent snowy owls that have been reported over the pat 50 days out there. The frigid temps on this day did not deterĀ  the Neck’s predator population of raptors from scouring the snow and ice for rodents and small birds. Amazingly we had 7 separate snowy owl sightings (probably three different birds), and also had great views of red tailed hawk, merlin, northern harrier, sharp shinned hawk and even a short eared owl! Our days walk covered an exhausting 17 miles and was made even more challenging as we had to break our own trail through 5 – 7 inches of crusty snow on top of the frozen sand. Absolutely a day of “mindblowing” wonder…and after a few days of recovery the day will go down as one of the best we have ever experienced on Cape Cod at any time of year. See what you think. A few images follow.

Female merlin

At the point

The the half way mark. Lovin' it!

Incredible look at the amount of insulation in feathers that these owls possess.

Short eared owl in flight

Northern Harrier hunts the dunes (a female)

Down the home stretch

Short eared owl perched in the distance

    9 Responses to “In the Kingdom of the Snowy Owl”

  1. February 9, 2014 | Reply
    Gene Doggett says:

    One word: Phenomenal !! Thanks for alerting us!

  2. Oh my!!!!!!!!!!! would love to venture out there in spring time……what do you think??? Never mentioned anything about frost bite!!!!!!!…….so beautiful….
    thanks for sharing all this info…..Margie

  3. Thanks so much Margie! Glad you enjoyed the post…was a bit chilly but we were moving almost all the time. Just an amazing day in the wild here.

  4. February 9, 2014 | Reply
    florine myer says:

    Fantastic pictures. If we can’t be there, it’s the next best thing. We keep track of you and so enjoy your photos. F & D

    • March 30, 2014 | Reply
      johnking says:

      Glad you enjoyed these. Just back from Norway for a day and a half. Off to stake our claims in the great King Expansion fiesta that will start very soon. Take good care and much love to you both! jk

  5. February 10, 2014 | Reply
    Abigail says:

    Breathtaking shots John, the soft colors of Winter here on the Cape are so soothing and you always seem to enhance them with such grace and point of view. Thanks..

    • March 30, 2014 | Reply
      johnking says:

      Thanks Abigail. Very kind of you to comment. We are off to the west to stake out claims in the King Expansion fiesta that will occur very soon. Stay tuned….xoxox

  6. February 10, 2014 | Reply
    michael stelma says:

    John 17 miles Awesome Great photos

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