Clear skies and cold temperatures (10-20F) greeted me as I arrived at Mouillee Creek this morning. I was under the impression that duck hunting season had finished as of Dec 1st, but I may have been wrong. But, this was my only opportunity before Christmas to get down here, and I was desperate to determine if any Snowy Owls had made their way to Pt. Mouillee SGA.
This has been another irruption year for Snowy Owls. Ohio has reported as many as 50 birds since November, and Michigan has sightings all along the east and west coasts. Anyways, this prompted me to want to check if any Snowies were at Pt. Mouillee. So, I grabbed the bike and headed to the Mouillee Creek entrance. At 8:30 am I was on the trail and heading east toward the Banana Unit. At 8:45 am I was heading back to the car. To get the scope I forgot. Wow.
A quarter-inch of snow had fallen yesterday, so there was some snow on the dikes. Luckily, it was cold enough that the ground was frozen, but the winds were blowing hard from the south and windchills were near zero. Riding was hard. And I hadn't done it since September, so my legs were feeling it. As is normal at Pt. Moo the winds are always in your face no matter which direction you ride. Today was no different.
I trudged on. I reached the junction of Vermet, Humphries and Long Pond Units and took a few minutes to scan the dikes and every post in my area of view. Nothing. A few Canada Geese and Tundra Swans were out in the Vermet, but that was it. I scanned the north causeway and could only see gulls flying around the Huron River. Until.
There, on a post just within view was a white blob that I knew was not a gull. Several minutes later it was gone, but I could see a large white bird flying along the causeway. Score! I decided not to ride directly toward it, though, since approaching from the west it would put the Snowy Owl between me and the rising Sun. So, I decided to continue along the Middle Causeway toward the Banana Unit and Cell 3.
and this video:
Still another Snowy Owl was on the rocks midway along the Long Pond Unit, but I decided to not bother it. Instead, I rode back to the car taking the dike between Vermet and Long Pond Units. I would see a Northern Harrier hunting over the Long Pond Unit, but it was too far away to photograph.