December 20, 2013

Getting to the Point

Filed under: beach,Birds,Outer Banks — j0jgvm89bj @ 4:14 pm

This has been a year of some personal loss and heartbreak, and I’m glad to have it behind me.

There is so much to be thankful for. The Summer and Autumn have been exceptionally gorgeous, especially in light of the severe storms the past few years.

December has almost turned into winter, and things on the island have been relatively quiet preceding the holidays. Yet a few weeks ago on the 5th, I had a first glimpse of a snowy owl. They are generally rare to the region, but not unheard of.

The first reported sighting was weeks prior, and Cape Point saw a deluge of photographers and naturalists looking for the wayward creature. My reaction was to wonder, at what point will the onlookers be harassing the bird or distressing it in some way. Certainly one’s discretion to minimize impact is important.

I felt guilty about venturing to the point with so many other folks, but when the bridge access to Hatteras Island was shut down for repairs, the onslaught of birders was also shut down considerably.

owl

With hardly any one else around, I was directed to a location where I saw a big white spot in the distance. Sure enough, there it was, perched on a piece of driftwood. I was able to get reasonably close with my 500 mm telephoto.

There was intermittent rain and light overcast, perfect for shooting a white bird in the wide open tundra of Cape Point.

Two weeks later I ventured out again with my long time friend Ray Matthews, and the owl was nowhere in sight. We surveyed the area with binoculars and discovered a falcon perched on a piece of wood. We advanced some, yet respectfully kept our distance.

falcon

It was a peregrine falcon, a frequent winter resident of Cape Point.

The Point is an amazing┬áplace. There’s always something interesting going on, and you never know what you’ll see or experience.

HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU ALL!