Monday, December 9, 2013
Red-tails and Snowy Owl! - 08 Dec 2013
I took a ride out to the Visteon / Grace Lake complex on Tyler Rd. and Ecorse Rd. in Wayne Co. to look for gulls. I was not disappointed. With temperatures in the single digits (wind chill) and a slight wind I was cold. But I managed to keep the scope on a half-dozen Lesser Black-backed Gulls and a pair of first winter Glaucous Gulls. We did not relocate any other gulls, especially a possible Thayer's Gull that Patrick Jakel had reported a day earlier.
While scoping the gulls I was joined by Tom Pavlik, who had just come from Willow Run Airport. He had spotted the Snowy Owl toward the center of the airport just east of the Control Tower. I took a ride over to the airport and spent the next hour or so looking for the owl.
My first couple of passes along the Airport Service Dr. failed to reveal any Snowy Owls. I did spot a nice adult Red-tailed Hawk and paused just long enough to photograph it in a tree next to the road.
According to Crossley (2013) "tail molt begins w/ the central and outer feathers w/ interior tail feathers replaced later". He appears to be correct...
I decided to make one last pass along the service drive. This time I spotted the Snowy Owl in the middle of the airport complex sitting on a signpost next to a runway. The bird was about 150 yds. away, so all I could do was enjoy distant looks through the binoculars. Happy, I headed for home!
Crossley, R., The Crossley ID Guide to Raptors, 2013, Princeton University Press.