This morning I drove to Michigan's Upper Peninsula to take in a few days of boreal birding. My plan was to stop at Hartwick Pines State Park in Grayling, then spend the night in Mackinac City. I would then bird the Rudyard and Sault Ste. Marie area on Monday, then drive to Whitefish Pt. on Tuesday.
I reached Hartwick Pines SP at 1 pm and found the place void of birds; the only sighting was a fat beaver waddling into the woods from the parking lot. The ranger at the Visitor's Center hadn't seen any Evening Grosbeaks in over a week, and hadn't heard any calling for several days. Since I was only an hour from the Mackinac Bridge and another hour to Rudyard I decided to continue on and get a late afternoon drive down Centerline Rd.
Snow squalls hit the Crawford Co. area just north of Grayling and I found myself in a mini-blizzard for about 30 minutes. The roads cleared near the Bridge and steady flurries greeted me in the Rudyard area. Two Snowy Owls were reported yesterday, so I kept an eye out for them as I slowly drove just east of I-75 on Centerline Rd.
I found a juvenile Snowy Owl atop a pole on the passenger side of the car. Rather than stopping the car and trying to photograph it from the road I decided to drive down, turn around, and photograph it from inside the car. Glad I did.
I would find that group autofocus on the Nikon D500 and 300/2.8 VRII tended to find snowflakes to focus on easier than the hundreds of Snow Buntings whipping by my field of view. As a result I had dozens of frames of blurred birds and sharp snowflakes. However, of the approximately 1000 photos I did take I had enough to keep me busy for hours.